Footy powers new youth mentoring and coaching program


Ormond Junior Football Club Youth Mentor Program photo 

Connect Health & Community is excited to announce a new community partnership with Ormond Junior Football Club (OJFC) and youth wellbeing blog and resource A Path to Follow – the OJFC Youth Mentor Program.

This peer-to-peer mentoring program was born out of a desire to support the wellbeing of children of all ages. The OJFC Youth Mentor Program will leverage off young players’ common passion for football to introduce the concept of mentoring (via coaching), build relationships within the club and community, and promote kids’ health and wellbeing practices.

A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser – something every young person needs, regardless of their age and stage. As part of the OJFC Youth Mentor Program:

  • Junior coaches (U14s and above) will mentor the younger playing groups.
  • Senior coaches will mentor the junior coaches and the younger playing groups.
  • Junior players (U12s and above) will be introduced to mentoring by participating in training with Fair Go Footy (a program for children with disabilities), younger age teams and Auskick.

There is no cost involved in participating in the OJFC Youth Mentor Program, which will include formal training for junior coaches/mentors and senior coaches/mentors to coach small groups of younger players in Junior Football, Auskick and Fair Go Footy teams. All training will be conducted by professional youth social workers from Connect Health & Community, who will work with an OJFC committee member. 

Participants in the program will receive support throughout the season from Connect Health & Community’s youth social workers and their mentors, as well as from program leader Kirstie Edwards. Kirstie manages the Child, Youth & Family Team at Connect Health & Community and is also mum of three boys and the founder of A Path to Follow.

The benefits of peer-to-peer mentoring

Peer-to-peer mentoring (where older kids/young adults mentor younger kids) offers a wealth of benefits to both mentors and mentees, and, in footy-mad Victoria, sport is a great vehicle for this.

For mentors (junior coaches and senior coaches), benefits include:

  • a greater feeling of connection to their team, club and community
  • improved empathy and conflict-resolution skills
  • increased confidence and organisational skills.

For all mentees, having an older mentor or role model who has ‘been there’ recently can help with:

  • improved social skills, sporting skills and coping mechanisms
  • increased confidence and self-esteem
  • behavioural problems (with mentees found to engage in less ‘risky’ behaviours)
  • a greater feeling of wellbeing.

There is also an opportunity for mentors to take part in one-on-one mentoring, which again will also be supported by Connect Health & Community’s qualified youth social workers.

To find out more about the OJFC Youth Mentor Program, please visit the OJFC website or contact program leader Kirstie Edwards on 0478 310 145 or

For more information on Connect Health & Community’s health services, including counselling and support for all age ranges, please call 03 9575 5333 or click here.

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