Fittler will be joined at the University of Wollongong for the talks in front of almost 500 students by Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder and captain Kezie Apps, Gotcha4Life Founder Gus Worland, Crime Stoppers International Chief Executive Shane Britten, Youth off the Streets CEO Lex Lutherborrow, breathing expert Nam Baldwin and former Paralympian and motivational speaker John McLean.
The program is aimed at Year 10 students heading into Year 11; and Year 11 students heading into Year 12; with talks also planned for high school students at venues including the University of New England (22 March), University of Western Sydney (1 April) and University of Canberra (2 May).The program will have addressed more than 2000 students when it concludes in May.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to take the Blues Youth Leadership Program to high school students across NSW,” Fittler said.
“As a father of two teenage children, I’m aware of the challenges confronting students in their final years at high school, from the pressure of exams, to social pressures to conform, and to the world of social media.
“The young men I coach for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues also face intense pressure and we put support practices around them to help them deal with it.
“I’m confident the philosophies and principles that I use for my players can also be applied to the next generation of young leaders in high school and help make a difference.”
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said Fittler had been the driving force behind the program.
“Freddy has always been passionate about improving the mental fitness and resilience of the youth around NSW, and particularly those in regional areas,” Trodden said.
“It has been a challenging couple of years for everyone in our great state, with communities battling bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently floods.
“This program will have a positive impact on students and hopefully set them up to achieve success in the future.”
The program will run from 10am-2pm and will include the following talks:
- Fittler and Hilder on the importance of areas including water, sleep and exercise;
- Nam, who has worked with the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues, on breathing techniques;
- Worland on the importance of mental fitness;
- Lutherborrow on leadership;
- Britten on technology and mobile phones;
- Maclean on resilience.
Details of a media event for the conference will be issued on Sunday 13 March.