By Molly Magennis

The Western Bulldogs Community Foundation Youth Leadership Program is back in 2022, with applications open to western youth.

The program is open to people aged 14-16 who live or work in Ballarat, Ararat, Melton, Pyrenees, Brimbank, Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong.

The program, established in 2013, gives participants the opportunity to learn from community leaders and develop resilience and leadership skills, building confidence and making new friends along the way.

Over 10 sessions that will run fortnightly, attendees can expect to participate in hands-on team-building challenges, career expos, mentorship from respected industry leaders, courses coaching, AFL and AFLW game tours, Western Bulldogs volunteer opportunities and board workshops.

Bulldogs youth development coordinator Hannah Singleton said during the program a variety of topics will be covered that may not necessarily be covered in school.

“It’s a good opportunity to explore topics that are perhaps fairly present in society but not really addressed in school, such as talking about mental health in a safe space, gender equity and problems that are there, but also other kinds of potential opportunities to help improve those problems as well, she said.

“We have a session on cross-cultural understanding, to get to know different cultures, not just in the room, but maybe even across western Victoria, which is quite multicultural, but also the Aboriginal and Strait Islander culture Torres.”

Throughout the program, participants are encouraged to develop their own project on a topic they are passionate about, to use as an opportunity to give back to their community.

“A large [thing] do you know, being able to feel, I guess, that they contribute to their communities because through their projects they also have a voice in their community, which is really, really nice to hear,” he said. she declared.

Applicants must apply to participate by completing an online entry form.