Anyone who has been involved in sports like rugby league, AFL and soccer know how fantastic it can feel to be part of a team.
“When you’re part of a team, the positive moments are amplified and the challenges are easier to handle,” says David Shillington, Australian international and state of origin professional Rugby League (NRL) footballer.
David, along with Millie Boyle, who plays NRL for Australia, NSW and with the Newcastle Knights in the NRL Women’s Premiership, have teamed up at Trainer Group to deliver the “Game Changer Program”.
The five-week program gives people on the NDIS the chance to learn new skills, get fit and build confidence while rubbing shoulders with their sporting heroes.
Team sport can be a game changing experience.
As professional footballers, David and Millie have experienced the positive impact that teammates, mentors and coaches can have on the lives of athletes.
Using this knowledge and experience, the duo were inspired to replicate the process and deliver it to people who may not have had the opportunity to participate in mainstream team sports.
The Game Changer Program brings together all the benefits of team sport and education, empowering participants to work towards their NDIS goals alongside their peers and professional athletes.
Millie Boyle, who was recently awarded the Dally M Medal for best female player in the NRLW, as well as starring on the hit TV show, SAS Australia, says the program has been extremely popular so far.
“When a high-profile professional athlete walks into one of our workshops, the impact is immediate…the room either rises a hundred decibels or goes dead quiet,” said Millie.
“The lasting impact however is when that NRL player sits down to explain how they too have experienced various challenges and difficulties in their lives which required a positive mindset and resilience to overcome. When that message resonates, which it always does, it’s extremely powerful.”
Learning new skills on and off the field.
While each person has a personalised plan, the key takeaways from the Game Changer Program include:
- Building confidence
- Developing social skills
- Making new friends
- Discovering strengths
- Putting skills into practice
- Lifting self-regard
- Improving resilience, mental and physical health
- Reinforcing gratitude
- Becoming job ready.
Importantly, the framework is flexible so everyone involved can apply learnings in a way that works for them and ensures the benefits will continue after the program ends. Game Changer can be delivered as a community program, or exclusively for schools and service providers with established groups.
Game changing impacts.
The Game Changer Program has already had a significant impact on a number of people with disabilities and their families.
“One person was overjoyed to find an entire team of friends through the program. He was able to form a special bond with other participants who understood him on a level that others in his life at that point didn’t,” said David.
“Another gained the practical experience and self-confidence he needed to land a job! He was hired into an administrative role at the sports club he had trained at after the program ended.”
Not to mention the countless people who have learnt ways to improve their physical and mental health, whilst rubbing shoulders with their sporting heroes!
Star power motivation.
The Game Changer Program is supported by professional sporting organisations and usually held at their club facilities.
Where else do you get a chance to toss a ball with some of Australia’s biggest sports stars at their state of the art-training facilities, while learning some new skills?
Ready to play?
Canberra Raiders, Melbourne Storm, Sydney Roosters, Manly Sea Eagles, Brisbane Broncos, the Dolphins, St George Dragons as well as the New South Wales Rugby League and Queensland Rugby League have already partnered with the program. More are set to follow, across various sporting codes.
The kicker?? Everyone who signs up gets a personalised plan, gift pack, tickets to a game for the attendee and their support worker, and a certificate of participation.
Leap in! is here to help.
Not sure where to start with your NDIS Plan? Looking for supports to achieve your goals in the area of Social and Community Participation? Contact the Leap in! Crew. We’re here to answer your questions and help you achieve your NDIS goals.