Building a football club community

Wadhurst students gain firsthand knowledge about how to run an AFL club through an exclusive visit to the Western Bulldogs inner sanctum.

Middle school is a time when students discover a lot about themselves and the world around them. Importantly we want them to learn to appreciate that they are part of a wider community, with its associated rights and responsibilities. We aim for students to start to see that true success is when everyone benefits and that this involves vision, planning and a range of skills.

The Argo programme at Wadhurst assists this journey of discovery. In Year 8, it involves a series of elective multi-disciplinary units that invite students to look beyond themselves and to see things through a prism of community. “They acquire a broader perspective on life and some of the skills that will help them to contribute to their communities,” said Wadhurst’s Head of Learning and Teaching, Mr Mark Coleman.

One of the Argo units this year saw a group of Year 8 students enter the inner sanctum of the Western Bulldogs Football Club to learn about the Bulldogs’ significant community activities and the complexity of the club’s behind-the-scenes operations. The Bulldogs’ Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Nick Truelson, spoke to the boys at length about his day-to-day role. “We are much more than a football club,” he said. “We are a community hub, with sports facilities, a child care centre, a vibrant café and a range of programmes that bring people together. We are committed to promoting inclusion, and health and fitness in our community. Our on-field success – winning football games – makes a huge difference in what we can do off-field for everyone.”

The Bulldogs’ Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Nick Truelson, speaks to Wadhurst students

Following this fascinating presentation, the students’ questions came thick and fast. At the end of the excursion, the Year 8 students nominated their highlights. “My favourite part was that we got to sit in the room used by the players and learn about different club aspects,” said Flynn Griffith. For Alexander Barr, it was the basketball courts “because I never realised the Western Bulldogs’ involvement with the community”. For Oscar McDonald, it was the thrill of seeing the Bulldogs’ 2016 and 1954 Grand Final Cups. “I liked this because I had never seen a real Grand Final Cup before,” he said. 

The Year 8 students will now work to develop their own detailed proposal for a fictitious football club licence, which will include details of their strategy for success.

Argo – a journey of discovery

The Argo programme started in 2017 in Year 7 and has been extended this year to include Year 8. Reflecting its multi-disciplinary nature, its units include themes of identity, conflict, change and systems.

Why the name Argo? “Well, in the ancient tale of Jason and the Argonauts, the Argonauts are all heroes with their own particular strengths and flaws,” explains Mr Mark Coleman Head of Teaching and Learning. “Argo is the ship in which they sail on their search for the Golden Fleece. For us, our students are heroes on a voyage of discovery. Their ship is the Argo programme and their realisation of their role as members of the Melbourne Grammar and wider community is the Golden Fleece. They are well on their way!”

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