Adelaide Crows Foundation

Crows stars visit APY Lands


Adelaide’s Izak Rankine and Reilly O’Brien have been making the most of their off-season, travelling to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands this week to inspire hundreds of children and youth to get excited about maths and science.

The two players visited the remote region alongside Adelaide Crows Foundation educators to deliver the Crows on Country program, which aims to translate Australian kids’ love of AFL into an appreciation, understanding, and passion for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics underlying the sport.

The tailored, education program combines classroom learning with hands-on experiences to create real life STEM connections – such as what kind of angle a goal is kicked from – and strives to increase school attendance.

The five-day trip included visits to Ernabella Aṉangu School, Kenmore Park Aṉangu School, Fregon Aṉangu School and Amata Aṉangu School where Rankine and O’Brien helped deliver the practical component of the program.

Across the week, both players were also involved in the Fregon Arts Festival, setting up and supporting the Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Education Committee (PYEC) sports carnival, and judging a dance competition – Ernabella Dance.

“It’s been a great experience; I’ve always wanted to come up this way,” Rankine said.

“To be able to get up here and get on land and amongst the kids has been eye opening, we’re pretty privileged in the city so it’s been great to be able to put some smiles on the local kids’ faces.

“Judging the dance competition and playing footy with the kids at the sports carnival were definitely the highlights for me. To see all of the kids come out of their comfort zone and unite in their dancing was pretty special.

“With the footy, it was great to see everyone coming together for it. Some of the kids don’t know who you are but they’re just happy to see you and know you’re from the Adelaide Crows.”

Playing footy with the local kids was also the highlight for O’Brien.

“It’s been awesome. It’s a very unique experience, beautiful unique landscape and the people have been great,” O’Brien said.

“Our Foundation does great things for kids around the state, and it’s been great to be involved with the kids up here, they have loved all of the STEM and sports activities.”

At the schools, members of the Adelaide Crows Foundation spent time up-skilling teachers so they could deliver the 5-week curriculum.

First Nations Program Manager Jeremy Johncock said the Foundation was proud to have created this bespoke program for students disadvantaged by rural and remote isolation barriers.

“This is our second trip to the APY Lands this year to visit schools, meet teachers and build connections with the communities,” Johncock said.

“A key focus has been to engage local teachers so they can sustain the program within their school curriculum for the long-term.

“The strength of this program is it combines learning with something many children have a passion for, and having our players attend as role models and connect with the students certainly drives overall engagement.”

The trip was possible thanks to the support of the Bibbulmun Foundation.  

The Crows on Country program is an adaptation of the Adelaide Crows Foundation’s successful STEMfooty program.

The culturally safe pilot program has been developed in partnership with remote schools and teachers using differentiated pedagogy that unlocks the potential of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with suggested alignment to Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).