HAWTHORN does not need to hold its community camp in Tasmania, chief executive Stuart Fox says, but the club believes it is the best way to maximise its partnership with the state.
Fox was speaking a few days after the club wrapped up its 13th community camp in the state, which followed its NAB Challenge match against Collingwood.
The club’s deal with the government states that there must be some involvement at the community level, however it does not say it has to be as a camp.
Fox said it was entirely up to the club how long it stayed in the state and how many activities it took part in.
‘‘We take the community camp quite seriously in terms of our responsibility, and the evidence of that is that we still do three full days of community work on camp, when most clubs are now doing one or two days,’’ Fox said.
‘‘When we plan it out at the start of the year, we try to better what we did the previous year, and with that comes a huge logistical program of trying to get an entire team across a state.
‘‘That presents challenges, as you have training, diets and everything that goes with looking after elite athletes when you are rolling the program out, but we do take it seriously and this year was evident of that.’’
Fox admitted the club could easily take the camp to other areas of the country, but said Tasmania was the most appropriate.
‘‘This year we tried to touch the whole state and we ask the boys to do it and they always do it with little complaint and they are happy to do it, as they do feel that responsibility to the community.
‘‘Most of the boys come up to us and tell us their interest when it comes to community work, and we set them up to do what they are passionate about.
‘‘The feedback I get is that it is certainly not a chore and the boys really do enjoy it.’’
Fox also said that they camp was a great way to introduce the first-year players to the state and help them understand its importance to the Hawks.
From a player’s point of view, premiership skipper Luke Hodge says he and his teammates took the responsibility that comes with the camp seriously.
‘‘I’m a country boy myself and I see that in the Tassie people that when you don’t see many footballers or get many clinics, the kids do take notice of what you say and are really appreciative of you going down there.
‘‘The one thing you do love as a footballer player is when you do go to a community like Tasmania and they are all rapt to see you and really listen to you speak.
‘‘Our footy club is huge in making sure we appreciate our fans and what they do for us players.’’
Josh Gibson with Oliver Greatbatch, 4, and Lucy Greatbatch, 7, of Launceston, at the Starlight Foundation AMF bowling day at Kings Meadows. Picture: GEOFF ROBSON
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