After more than six months of preparation and planning that’s gone into Richmond’s cultural exchange trip to Rio de Janeiro, young defender Dylan Grimes is happy to finally be there to experience it all.
Nine Richmond players, along with two young Indigenous men, Darren Alen and Derek Hayes, who are participants in the Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute, form the basis of the touring group in the Brazilian capital.
“We’ve got a good group of young guys with us . . . they’re going to dive into it 100 per cent and I couldn’t imagine a better group of guys to come with,” Grimes said.
The players selected for the trip are a mix of Richmond’s established and emerging leaders, and it’s an opportunity to continue the development of their leadership skills in a unique environment.
“Playing football together, we spend quite a bit of time around each other, and this is something that will really put us outside of our comfort zone,” Grimes said.
“It’s going to be a really big learning experience for us as players, and as people, but I’m sure we’ll be better off to have each other there for it.”
The players are hosted by local people and travelling to various areas of Rio with a Brazillian organisation called the Instituto Brasileiro deb Inovações em Saúde Social (IBISS). This organisation runs soccer programs in disadvantaged communities as a platform for social change.
During their jam-packed itinerary, the players will interact with different community groups. They will take part in both AFL and soccer skills sessions and games, participate in workshops on health, well-being self-esteem and self-belief, as well as cultural experiences, including a visit to Sugarloaf Mountain and Christ the Redeemer and traditional music and dancing.
“We’re really looking forward to immersing ourselves in the Brazilian culture and, hopefully, learning a lot and taking some of that back to Australia,” Grimes said.
“We’re going to try to take back some information about how they’ve (IBISS) implemented their program, (to integrate) into our Korin Gamadji Institute upstairs at Richmond.”
The cultural exchange trip called ‘Changing the score’ has been developed in partnership with RMIT, Bluestone Edge and IBISS in partnership with Richmond, with support from Karoon Gas, Rio Tinto, Costa Foundation and Drapac Group.