Collingwood AFLW player Britt Bonnici joined Ladder as a Mentoring Coordinator and Development Coach after hearing about the program at her AFLW induction in 2016. The All Australian penned a column on her time working with Ladder, what inspired her passion to join the program and how other people can become involved.
Words by Britt Bonnici
In my five years at Collingwood, I’ve had some wonderful experiences and opportunities – from playing the first AFLW game against Carlton at a locked-out IKON Park to being part of the Magpies’ first finals series.
AFLW has given me a platform to continuously challenge myself and be part of something that is paving the way for young girls who will, one day, reap the rewards of the hard work we’re putting in now.
Playing football also gives me a platform to give back to the community.
After I was drafted ahead of the inaugural AFLW season, I attended an induction camp where staff members from Ladder came to share with the AFLW players the role of the organisation and how we can become involved, which included information about their long-standing connection to the AFL industry after being founded by three AFL players (Paul Licuria, Mark Bolton and Joel Bowden) 14 years ago.
I jumped at the opportunity to become involved and support the work of Ladder.
I am constantly inspired by the work my colleagues and I do at Ladder.
Being able to see how I have assisted a young person reach their goal and seeing the positive change young people are able to make in themselves throughout our programs is something I’m incredibly proud of.
I’ve been fortunate to achieve my dream of playing AFLW and knowing I’ve been able to get there inspires me to continue to set new goals for myself and achieve them.
It also makes me want to support those who have not been afforded the same opportunities that I have.
Ladder has the ability to positively impact the lives of so many young Australians through their work.
We individualise each of our programs based on the cohort we have at the time to ensure that each young person has their voice heard, and the workshops we’re running are relevant to their goals.
We work to give them a sense of ownership over their future and their decisions and I think that’s one of the aspects that makes Ladder’s program so critical.
Ladder provides so many fantastic opportunities for AFL and AFLW players to volunteer and give back to the community.
I believe a fantastic way people can learn is through other people and their experiences.
By players volunteering with Ladder, there is the opportunity for young people to connect with athletes who have been able to achieve their own personal goals and this in turn provides inspiration.
We all have mentors in our lives, some of us without really knowing it.
To be a positive role model for a young person is so important and it can help to give them ongoing guidance and a support network, as well as empower them to find new passions and achieve their goals.
In my role at Ladder there is nothing more gratifying than hearing all the positive things our Alumni have to say about coming through the Ladder program.
By impacting their well-being, self-confidence and overall mental health, we have the ability to make significant positive change.
AFL and AFLW players have a powerful presence within society and for a young person to know that they have the support of such people enhances their individual motivation to find what works for them and what they can achieve in life.