In early January 2022 when the Northern Territory lifted their borders to fully vaccinated travelers and our (then) Head of Umpiring John Howorth started to plan how he could excel the training and development of our most aspiring Yarra Ranges Umpires.
John is a current listed AFL Umpire (No. 17) and regularly spends time umpiring in Darwin over the off-season to refine his key focus areas. His initiative quickly began to gain momentum and with support from our Association, the Outer East Football League and AFL Northern Territory our first Umpire Development Camp was held in January 2022.
John worked with others to identify some up-and-coming young umpires who were invited to apply for a spot on this exclusive Camp. As part of the application process selected umpires were asked to submit a 300-word essay on why they wanted a spot on the Camp and what influence they expected the opportunity would have on their umpiring career and personal development.
Our six Umpires selected to join John in the Top End were:
Yarra Ranges Umpires Association, together with 4D Home Loans and Ontuit Business Support sponsored the team’s uniforms. The League (OEFN) and Association generously contributed some of the costs with the balance of the flights and accommodation picked up by the 6 umpires selected to attend. With lines for PCR testing increasing during the Christmas/New Year break some of our selected Umpires waited up to 7 hours in line to be tested so they could get their clearance and travel arrangements finalised!
On January 6th the wait was over, Harrison, Sophie, Alex, Kieren, Daniel and Francis were finally in the air and on their way to Darwin to meet up with John and start the journey of a lifetime. Over the next 8 days the group were put through their paces attending umpire training sessions, life coaching and mentoring sessions, skills training, fitness and wellness sessions, as well as hard earned down time spent visiting various local tourist attractions.
The Camp was fortunate to have the who’s who of umpiring also in the Top End with John and they all graciously gave up so much of their time to spend with our group - find out who was there below!
Sam assisted with driving cars and buses, but most importantly he ensured that our young team had a safe and supportive environment so they could seize all the opportunities presented to them during the 8 days.
Nick provided Field Umpire Coaching together with confidence and team building activities. He also coordinated several wellness and fulfilment sessions with the team in the final days of the Camp.
We were fortunate to have Don who spent a lot of time with our group. Don has spent over 40 years in the Game officiating and playing in over 1,000+ games of AFL. His immense experience playing, coaching, umpiring as well as career counselling was fully embraced by our young team who actively participated in many group and one on one sessions with Don about goal setting, personal growth and what it means to be ‘elite’ in our great game and in life.
Andrew ensured all the logistics around accommodation and umpire appointments to local games ran like clockwork for our umpire group – with some getting the chance to officiate in senior games at TIO Stadium.
Ben was also on hand to provide specialised boundary coaching to YRUA Umpire Daniel Molino who was attending the Camp.
Stuart provided vision and specialised Goal Umpiring Coaching to YRUA Umpire Alex Tomada who attended the Camp.
Gary kindly gave up his time and arranged all our match vision so our YRUA Umpires had an opportunity to review their games whilst they were in Darwin.
Simon was on hand to observe and give support to all our YRUA Field Umpires in each of the games.
Liam was also in Darwin and he attended all our sessions. He also taught the team how to cut vision and review their games as well as helping them pull together a special ‘thank you video’ at the end of the trip!
John’s fiancée Morgan ensured all participants were well fed and a standout meal for all was definitely her Spaghetti Bolognese. Rumour has it Daniel Molino is still trying to go back for another bowl!
Keep reading below to find out more about the sessions that were part of our Development Camp in the 'Top End' as well as testimonials, videos and photo galleries!
As well as umpiring NTFL games, the Camp included the following sessions:
Plus, the team all got to enjoy the following local attractions and experiences:
The umpires attending this Camp are leaving with a renewed confidence and belief in themselves and what they can achieve. This sense of empowerment and self-belief is a pathway to success in the short and longer term. Understanding themselves and how best they can manage their goals and maximise their productivity is a great motivator for our up-and-coming umpires. Our group discovered how important a positive attitude is in creating opportunities in life and in their individual umpiring pathways, and how attitudes influence a team and those around you.
Being a part of the Yarra Ranges Umpires Association (YRUA) and participating in our shared passion of umpiring AFL is a rewarding experience for all our junior and senior umpires. Together with the Outer East Football & Netball League (OEFN), the YRUA is committed to the ongoing development of our umpires across all disciplines both on and off the field. Inspired by the success of the Darwin Development Camp our Association will be looking to deliver more exceptional umpiring development pathways during 2023 and beyond!
If you want to umpire some amazing football, then YRUA & Outer East can help you get to the top! Keep reading below to find out more about the Development Camp including testimonials, video and photo galleries!
Darwin Development Camp 2022
Current AFL listed Field Umpire Nick Brown, who we were lucky enough to have join our Umpires in Darwin at our recent OEFN & YRUA Umpire Development Camp, volunteers his time with Very Special Kids. This wonderful organisation provides specialist palliative care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and tailored support for their families – through life, death and bereavement.
At the end of the 8 day Development Camp in January 2022 our young umpires Harrison, Sophie, Alex, Kieren, Daniel and Francis all gladly chipped in to raise $300 which, through Nick, they donated to Very Special Kids.
Very Special Kids rely on the generosity of our community to ensure seriously-ill children, young people and their families don’t have to endure their difficult journey alone. Follow the link below to find out more about them and the important work they do including links to Donate, Fundraise and even Volunteer!