Vanuatu- Trip of a Lifetime

Vanuatu was the setting for Olinda Ferny Creeks’ footy/netball end of season trip but it was a far cry from traditional footy trips or ‘Mad Monday’ revelry.

Forty two footballers, netballers and support staff from Olinda Ferny Creek Football Netball Club, playing in the Yarra Valley & Mountain District League, have just returned from travelling to Vanuatu on a week’s volunteering trip assisting to promote and develop their sports. “Experiencing another culture, creating friendships, putting in to make a difference in a developing country, in an idyllic tropical setting was perfect to meet one of the clubs’ key aims - providing our young players with personal growth and development opportunities” says club President Helen Wositzky.  

Conducting clinics with over 1000 children and youth in schools around the main island Efate was an eye opener for the OFC players. The dire lack of facilities and resources available so different to home, yet despite this children that exuded immense joy and happiness.  

The clinics provided Ni-Van youngsters a taste of a game most of them had never seen before: Aussie Rules. Most had such wonderful natural athleticism that they picked up the game instantly. This was the first time a Football/Netball Club has undertaken such a trip to Vanuatu and the appreciation of the children, teachers, Vanuatu AFL and netball was amazing.

An exhibition football match was played between Olinda Ferny Creek and the national Vanuatu Volcanoes whom won the game by 10 points. But not before the entire squad of 42 from OFC with wheelbarrows and buckets carted soil all afternoon to fill in thousands of holes made by land crabs that had made the oval look more like a mine field than a national playing field. With the holes filled in the game that followed was fast and skill full and was immensely entertaining, not least because some local Ni-Vans including the bus drivers who had never played Aussie Rules before were recruited to bolster the numbers of OFC.  

Port Vila & Sheffa challenged OFC to 4 netball games, the talent and skill levels of the local teams meant OFC had to lift to match them. The results were split 3/1 Olinda’s way but with the great camaraderie and friendship displayed on the court the result was practically irrelevant.

In addition to the clinics half a ton of donated sporting equipment was distributed to schools and the associations providing much needed resources and providing the means for the schools to continue to have children participate in sport. Some schools visited did not even have a ball for the students to play with.

For Olinda Ferny Creek Football Netball Club it was an immensely rewarding and life changing experience, a firm connection made with so many wonderful Ni-Van people that will continue into the future says Helen. A chalk board at Moorings Hotel summed it up. At the start of the week one of the locals had written ‘Thank you OFCFNC – you are changing the world’. On the last day one of our young players changed it to read ‘Thank you Vanuatu – you are changing OFCFNC’ .

Check the pictures in the Photo Gallery


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2019 Totally Work Wear Premier Div Seniors
1 Berwick 64
2 Narre Warren 60
3 Beaconsfield 52
4 Woori Yallock 46
5 Cranbourne 42
6 Wandin 36
7 Olinda Ferny Creek 28
8 Upwey Tecoma 20
9 Healesville 12