Captains-of-changeHundreds of pairs of boots were cleaned and divided into categories to be donated or recycled at the Community Action Day. With the big task ahead of cleaning the boots they collected was the Leongatha team, led by Anthony Argento, far right, with Jack Ginnane, mentor Chris Verboon, Kyle Hooper and Louis Riseley. D824714.

By Danika Dent

TEAMS of teenagers scrounged around their communities looking for bikes, sporting gear and old boots on the weekend.
Instead of ‘being up to no good’, the teenagers led a local campaign for change.
Sent out with the instruction to collect second hand sporting items, unwanted bikes and old boots, the teenagers, who all play in local football and netball teams, were part of the leadership program Captain’s Camp.
Fourteen teams, led by participants of the Captain’s Camp, organised their five-people teams to round up trailer loads of bikes and second hand sporting equipment and clothes.
Korumburra-Bena Bulldog Hugh Suckling explained:
“We were given a very brief outline of what was going to happen at our last camp in September,” he said.

“We were told to get a team of five people, and our mentor, the date and what to bring – that we’d need a trailer.
“Then at 8.30am this morning [Sunday], we were sent an email with a YouTube clip that gave us our objective – to get as many bikes, and pieces of second hand sporting equipment that we could, and to meet back at the Leongatha clubrooms at 3pm.”
Phillip Island footballer Rory Marshall said his team was almost overwhelmed with the support they received for their campaign.
His team used social media to great effect, connecting with different networks and quickly filling up their car and trailer.
“Between all five of us I think we knew everyone on the Island,” he laughed.
“We didn’t have to go too far out of the footy club to get all our gear.
“We filled the first trailer in just 37 minutes, then we had to work out how to get another trailer and ended up putting bikes on the roof.
“The Lions club donated 25 bikes so that had us full pretty quickly!”
Once the teams had reassembled at Leongatha, they had to unload and tally up the bikes, clean the boots and finally were able to relax.
Captain’s Camp director Jamin Heppell was proud and delighted with how the teenagers, identified as community leaders, had reacted to the challenge.
He said the youngsters had learnt important life skills while effecting change – organising strategy, motivating their teams, networking for items, effective communication and event management.
The items collected will be donated to community groups through The Huddle, Boots for All and Good Cycles.
“The Huddle is an initiative of the North Melbourne Football Club that particularly works with children and young people from migrant and refugee communities – they’ll be receiving the kids’ boots we’ve collected today,” Jamin said.
“Boots for All helps disadvantaged adults and families across Australia to participate in sport – they’ll be receiving the adults’ boots and gear.
“Finally, Good Cycles in Docklands works on education and life skills – they educate and train people to fix a bike, donate that one to others and then fix a bike which the participant gets to keep for themselves.
“Boots that are completely ruined, and there’s a few of those pairs, will go to be recycled into athletics tracks.”