Club joins positive role model move

Ben Bush. Photo: Sally Frank

As the footy season hopes to make a welcome return, members of the Woodend Hesket Football Netball Club are a part of a new online portrait exhibition called ‘Role Modelling Respect’.
The portraits were taken early this year as part of a joint project between the club and Cobaw Community Health.
At the WHFNC registration day in February, players and members of the club were invited to be photographed holding statements that model respectful behaviour or challenge harmful social norms.
The exhibition of the photographs aims to help create a healthy community sporting environment and promote an inclusive club culture where every member feels safe and valued.
The activity was a huge success with 64 people participating by having their portrait taken. The portraits were taken by professional photographer Sally Frank who is also a WHFNC member and who generously donated her time to the project.
Club president Paul Podbury says the club encourages its players to see themselves as role models.
“We take our commitment to creating a positive club culture seriously,” he says.
“Sporting clubs play an important role in shaping positive community attitudes and challenging phrases such as ‘boys will be boys’ or sexist jokes and language is really important.”
Lauren Tyrell, health promotion team leader at Cobaw, says the organisation is proud to partner with the club. “WHFNC are to be commended on their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their players and the broader club community,” says Lauren.
“What’s great is to see the impact this positive messaging has on children and young people and how there is hope that they will grow up knowing that both boys and girls can be equally strong, sensitive and not afraid to talk about their feelings.”
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the portraits were going to be hung in the WHFNC club rooms and unveiled at the beginning of the football season. To comply with the need for physical distancing, the exhibition has been moved online, with the exhibition ready for viewing by the wider community this week, to coincide with the return of the AFL season.
The ‘Role Modelling Respect’ online portrait gallery can be viewed at: