As more than 50 smiling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Essendon jumpers chased footballs around the Bombers’ headquarters on Monday, Courtenay Dempsey stood watching with the biggest smile of all.
“How good is it? They love footy and they’re so happy,” Dempsey told aflplayers.com.au.
The 27-year-old was on hand to celebrate his role as the Secretariat National Aboriginal Islander Child Care’s (SNAICC) 2015 ambassador for National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
“I’m proud to be helping our kids stand tall and feel connected and proud in our culture” – Courtenay Dempsey
2015 marks the 28th annual celebration of the day, which recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and celebrates their culture.
A proud Dempsey said he was honoured to be an ambassador for such an important occasion.
“The day is an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal children.
“I’m proud to be helping our kids stand tall and feel connected and proud in our culture.”
Dempsey, with the help of fellow teammates Jake Long and Connor McKenna, hosted a skills clinic at the True Value Solar Centre.
The 115-gamer said he enjoyed using his profile as an AFL player to be involved in important projects close to his heart, which also provide him with a mental break from the rigours of being an elite athlete.
“If you just live and breathe football it’s going to take a toll on your mind,” Dempsey said.
“With the AFLPA setting up programs for players past and present, it’s wonderful, and that’s the way we should all go.
“Footy doesn’t last forever and we need to look outside of football as well.”