Q&A: WEIGHING UP THE BENEFITS OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Q&A: WEIGHING UP THE BENEFITS OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Living West sat down with local AFL Development Officer and student Carmen Amor to find out more about her healthy lifestyle
Image: Simone Norrie

Carmen Amor is an AFL Development Officer for AFL NSW/ACT in the Central West. Living West  sat down with the 21-year-old Parkes local to talk about her role of promoting the sport of AFL in the region, how it works in to her healthy lifestyle, and what this job means for her future.

Carmen Amor is an AFL Development Officer for AFL NSW/ACT in the Central West. We sat down with the 21-year-old Parkes local to talk about her role of promoting the sport of AFL in the region, how it works in to her healthy lifestyle, and what this job means for her future.
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Kelsey Smith

Judging by the course you are studying and your career aspirations, I assume you grew up playing sport?

“I did play a lot of sport growing up. I was involved in hockey, soccer, touch…a little bit of everything really. There wasn’t a day of the week growing up when I didn’t have training or something to do with sport on in primary school and in to high school. Even now I am not only involved with the AFL but I also play hockey and soccer.”

Being a local to the Central West, how has sport been influential in the lifestyle you live in the region?

“Sport has been really good for me growing up because it has helped me to create that healthy lifestyle. When I go out and play sport I always want to come home and eat something healthy, I don’t want to have those fast foods.

“It also helps socially with finding friends. I grew up in Parkes and I study at Bathurst, and I have made so many friends throughout the communities with the different sports that I play.”

What does your job as an AFL Development Officer entail?

“My job is to help promote AFL and build its identity within the Central West. It is obviously a really popular sport in Victoria and interest is growing in Sydney as well, and it’s our job to build up its foundation in regional NSW.

“To do this, across the whole school year we run six week AFL Community Auskick programs at primary schools right across the Central West – from Lithgow to Bathurst, Orange to Dubbo, Parkes and Forbes, as well as the smaller towns such as Portland and Molong.

“Within these programs we teach the primary students all the skills of AFL through modified games and fun, interactive activities.”

You are working part time whilst you are studying a Bachelor of Exercise Science (Rehabilitation) at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. What are your career aspirations, and how is this job with AFL NSW/ACT assisting as a stepping stone to your potential career?

“I am currently in my second year of university. I am interested in working for a national sporting club (in the NRL or AFL). By representing a sporting team (the Greater Western Sydney Giants) for my job, it is a great stepping stone into getting an exercise and rehabilitation job with a professional sporting team.

“In this job, as well as learning a few things at university, the children and PE teachers have also sparked my interest, and it has made me aware of the situation in schools and young communities in the Central West, in regards to the lack of physical education and the large number of children not playing sport.

“By incorporating this job and the association with a professional sporting club with my interest in sports rehabilitation, it has helped me a lot in regards to my potential career. It is just the first step, and it’s about getting my foot in the door…and also about teaching kids about AFL in the process, which is great fun!”

How do these programs assist with educating and encouraging a healthy lifestyle for these students?

“We don’t just teach the kids the skills of AFL, but we also talk to them about what it takes to become an AFL player or an elite sportsperson. So not only does it include training and practicing the skills of the sport, but it also includes eating healthy and plenty of exercise.

“Within our six week program the kids also get a backpack with a football, a hat and a water bottle (which encourages them to get outside after school on the days that they don’t have any sport on), and get active and kick the footy around with their friends, siblings or parents. So, in a way, it also targets their parents who are encouraged to participate with their children and even volunteer to help out at our programs.”

Your job obviously allows you to be active – how does this assist with your physical activity levels outside of the sports that you play?

“Depending on the programs we have running, this job involves an hour of exercise a few days a week, and in that hour you’re running around with the kids the whole time – it is just that extra bit of exercise for me.

“Physical activity and living healthy is a lifestyle choice, and my job and my choice of career path reflects my interest in leading a healthy lifestyle. Through my job I don’t just want to encourage the students to play AFL, but I hope I can encourage these young students to get outside and be physically active.”

Check out our article ‘KICKING THE KILOS: ARE YOUTH PROGRAMS THE KEY TO A HEALTHIER FUTURE?’ for more information on AFL programs in the region.

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