Geelong premiership player Brandan Parfitt says the opportunity to give back to First Nations children and young people is a privilege he isn't taking for granted.
The 24-year-old, a key member of the Cats' 2022 premiership team, visited Harris Street Reserve's Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative in Warrnambool with a number of Indigenous players such as Tyson Stengle and Georgie Prespakis for a kids' clinic on Tuesday afternoon as part of the club's Djilang Program.
The Djilang Program, which started in 2012, is a community-led initiative which focuses on working with local First Nations community members to promote culture connection with the aim of empowering young people from the Geelong and Warrnambool regions.
It is also designed to provide a public platform to raise awareness of culture connection messages to the wider community.
First Nations youngsters enjoyed mingling and taking pictures with their heroes, kicking footballs and creating artwork which will link with this season's First Nations guernsey. The artwork will also result in an installation of their artwork at Kardinia Park.
"It's sort of an Indigenous program we run, it's been around for a few years now and it's good initiative by the club," Parfitt, who is an ambassador for the program, told The Standard.
"It's good to have that connection and give back to Indigenous people being Indigenous myself so it's always good.
"Everyone in the community loves football and I guess as an Indigenous person it's always good to have someone to look up to and see that if you're doing it (playing in the AFL), it can inspire people of colour to do the same.
"It's awesome to be able to put a smile on their faces even if football isn't their thing, just to strive to better themselves."
Parfitt said he enjoyed getting to Warrnambool and immersing himself in the local community during the camp.
"It's good to get out of Geelong and see the rural areas, we've got a big fan base out here in Warrnambool," he said.
"I still remember as a kid when people came to Darwin, it made a massive impact on me, hopefully I can do the same for the next generation."
After the highs of winning his first AFL premiership, the midfielder said he was now focusing on improving on his 17-game season and going to another level in 2023.
"It was all a bit of a blur (winning the premiership) for a while there, we celebrated for a few weeks but now you move on and try and think about the following season," he said.
"It was a great celebration and a great season by everyone but you've got to go back to a level playing field with everyone else and get ready for season 2023.
"You want to improve every year, we've got some new guys coming in and the young guys are getting better so spots will be hard to get. You've just got to keep focusing on your own improvement."
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