NRL Celebrates 15 years of Community Carnival
More than 255,000 children have experienced Rugby League's "Health and Wellbeing" program as part of the 15th annual Community Carnival.
Delivered at 965 schools and 77 Junior League clinics in 383 towns across Australia and New Zealand, this year's campaign kicked off with the support of wellbeing advocate Cathy Freeman and NRL Community Ambassador Anthony Minichiello, and finished this week with visits to more than 4,200 children in Perth.
"The 15th anniversary of Community Carnival has been a great success. We've seen tremendous efforts from all of the players, Ambassadors, Development Officers and NRL Clubs," said NRL Head of Community, Adam Check.
"Players have delivered the health and wellbeing program to students in regional areas as far as Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, to Tingha in New South Wales and Rotorua in New Zealand, travelling more than 40,000km along the way.
"It's been a far-reaching campaign and we hope to have made positive changes to the attitudes of young people towards health and wellbeing."
During the four-week (February 2 – 27) campaign, visit highlights included:
Broncos - Travelled 900km and visited a total of 3,245 children at 22 schools in the Emerald and Blackwater region (QLD) and local Brisbane communities. Whilst here, they also hosted 6 Junior Rugby League clinics.
Bulldogs - Travelled 500km to Central NSW as well as covering their local area to visit over 10,400 children at 50 schools.
Cowboys - Visited 3,000 students in 34 schools across areas of Mackay and Cairns.
Dragons - Visited more than 8,000 students in 30 schools within the NSW South Coast area, Illawarra and Kogarah in three separate regional and local tours.
Eels - Travelled nearly 3,000km to Alice Springs, visiting 1,000 children in 15 schools in Indigenous communities. They also visited more than 19,500 students in 62 schools during their local campaign throughout Sydney's Western Suburbs.
Knights - Visited 3,800 students in Muswellbrook, Maitland and local Newcastle suburbs, Windale and Merewether.
Sea Eagles - Delivered the program to 3,200 students in regional areas of Moree and Wee Waa in NSW, in addition to the northern suburbs of Adelaide where SA born Breton Lawrence returned home.
Panthers - Visited Central Western NSW and local Western Sydney suburbs, seeing over 14,700 students in 75 schools.
Rabbitohs - Travelled to Eden, Merimbula and Bega NSW to visit students at 11 schools.
Raiders - Alan Tongue joined the club in visits to a total of 45 schools and 11,500 children in regional south-western NSW.
Roosters - Travelled to NSW's Central Coast to see almost 5,000 children in one day. They also visited 13 schools in their local Eastern Suburbs area.
Sharks - Took the program to Taree and surrounds as well as their local area of Cronulla, visiting over 10,500 students in 34 schools.
Storm - Visited more than 10,300 children in 58 schools in regional Victoria and local Melbourne schools.
Wests Tigers - Across their local South West Sydney area and the coastal region of Port Macquarie, they visited over 33,000 students in 100 schools and travelled over 1,300km.
Titans - Visited a total of 26 schools and 12,000 children on the local Gold Coast, Cairns, Northern Rivers and Toowoomba
Warriors - Visited students in schools across New Zealand including Rotorua and Auckland
Ambassadors - NRL Community Ambassadors including Nathan Hindmarsh, Anthony Minichiello and Nathan Merritt visited more than 24,800 children in 93 schools during the campaign. Regions covered included Chinchilla in Queensland, Perth in Western Australia and Tingha in New South Wales.
This year the NRL focused on empowering and educating students to value wellbeing in their own lives.
Ambassadors, players and staff were armed with teaching resources mapped to the Australian and New Zealand Curriculum, which demonstrate how important nutrition, physical activity and mental health is to overall wellbeing.
Students were also encouraged to become more involved in Rugby League through the playNRL.com portal.
"This has also been a landmark month in terms of additions to our NRL Community Ambassador program," said Check.
"Over the past four weeks, we've announced Jerome Ropati as our first ever New Zealand Ambassador, Bryan Norrie as the first Melbourne based Ambassador, and welcomed Anthony Minichiello, Brent Tate, Luke Bailey and Nathan Merritt to the program."
Key Statistics for 2015 Community Carnival:
• Visits to 255,392 school children
• More than 383 towns across Australia and New Zealand
• 965 schools
• 42,649km travelled
• Conducted 77 Junior League Clinics across Australia and New Zealand
Check out all the NRL's 2015 Community Carnival action at http://nrlcommunity.stackla.com/
This article first appeared on NRL.com