A record 300,087 children have experienced Rugby League’s powerful “Tackle Bullying” program as part of the 2014 Community Carnival delivered at 899 schools in more than 400 towns across Australia and New Zealand over the past six weeks.
The game’s most successful Community Carnival kicked off in late January with the Dragons visiting schools in their local area of Kiama and wound up this week with Ambassadors visiting more than 5,000 children in Perth.
The program, the largest of its kind in Australian sport, also received endorsement last month by US experts at the National Bullying Prevention Centre in Minnesota and by Australian organisation, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation in Melbourne.
During the six-week 2014 campaign, Ambassadors and players from all 16 NRL Clubs covered more than 20,800km, with highlights including:
Visited a total of 8,000 children at 34 schools in the Wide Bay region (QLD) and local Brisbane communities.
Travelled 2,600km to Queensland's Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast to visit 13,802 children at 36 schools.
North Queensland Cowboys
Visited 20 schools in flood-stricken Herbert River (Regional QLD) over three days.
St. George Illawarra Dragons
Visited a total of 115 schools in Kiama, Bega, Illawarra and Kogarah in four separate regional tours.
Travelled 2,766km to remote Alice Sprints, visiting 12,000 children in Indigenous communities and more than 23,000 during their local campaign.
Visited 8,525 children in Denman, Maitland, Kurri Kurri, Newcastle and Tamworth.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Delivered the program to almost 10,000 children in local Northern Beaches schools, Kempsey and Bowraville.
Hit 44 schools and delivered the program to 12,800 children in Sydney's West in a four-hour period on February 24.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Travelled to Albury in regional NSW to visit almost 3,500 children at 11 schools.
Visited a total of 51 schools and 12,294 children in Canberra and regional NSW.
Travelled to NSW's Central Coast on Valentines Day to see almost 8,000 children in one day.
Took the program to Christchurch in New Zealand to visit 11 schools over three days.
Visited more than 10,000 children in regional Victoria and local Melbourne schools.
Visited 13,252 children in the Southern Highlands and 15,849 children in their local South West Sydney area.
Gold Coast Titans
Hit a total of 37 schools and 9,650 children in Yamba, Maclean, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, the Tweed region and Toowoomba.
Delivered special "Tackle Bullying" games to 6,500 children in Hamilton, Dunedin and Auckland.
A 24-man squad travelled a total of 5,000km and visited more than 32,000 children during the campaign.
“We’re extremely proud of all of the hard work and effort the players, Ambassadors, Development Officers, NRL Clubs and the One Community team have dedicated to this year’s Community Carnival,” said NRL Community, Culture and Diversity Interim General Manager, Mr Mark Deweerd.
“It’s been our widest reaching campaign to date and we hope to have made a tangible impact on reducing bullying in schools across the country.”
This year the NRL focused heavily on research and practical positive action, investing in the development of new educational resources in conjunction with the Australian Catholic University.
Acknowledging that bullying affects everybody, the resources and lesson plans provide insight and awareness for the victim, the bully and the bystander with separate resources dedicated to primary and secondary school students, parents and teachers.
Ambassadors, players and staff were specially trained by leading psychologist Dr Elizabeth Seely-Wait to deliver the program.
Key Statistics for 2014 Community Carnival:
· Visits to 300,087 school children
· More than 400 towns across Australia and New Zealand
· 899 schools
· 20,831km travelled