Former AFL star Glenn Manton will visit Portland next month to guide young people to improve their communication and relationship skills and avoid the pitfalls that sometimes come with adolescence.
The interactive forum, hosted by a consortium of local agencies, will particularly target young sportspeople aged 16 to 25.
“It’s about building well-rounded young people who are successful off the sporting field as well as on field,” Manton said.
“If we get people walking out thinking that they need to invest more in developing themselves and improving their communication and relationship skills, then we’ve had a successful night.”
Apart from his successful 12-year football career, Manton has a strong background in education and community work, with a particular focus on youth.
The forum will be an extension of Manton’s mentoring and support of young people across Australia.
One such case was profiled on ABC’s Australian Story in 2010 and centred on a young man who became suicidal when his personal history combined with his failure to be drafted to the AFL.
“There were a lot of people who supported me at various times and this was a case of pay it forward for me with respect to helping,” Manton said.
But his presentation is far from serious. Manton describes it as “edu-tainment”.
“I don’t like that term but it does sum it up well, as the session will be fun and entertaining, but have educational value as well,” he said.
Manton hopes the format of the Portland presentation will be picked up in other areas.
“There is no reason why sportspeople need more support than anyone else, but sporting clubs have a very strong standing in the community and are a captive space for bringing together young people,” he said.
“Helping young people to develop knowledge of who they really are is really a life’s work for me.”
The forum will be held at the Portland Football Netball Club on June 18 at 7pm.
Manton, a Carlton premiership player, is a trained teacher, co-founded Whitelion and travels widely as a professional speaker.
Bev McIlroy, from Portland Community Health Centre, said the forum would help young people “be the best they can be”.
People interested in attending can contact McIlroy on 5521 0350.