The ACA and CA through the Professional Development Program has contributed to the South Australian Scorpions preseason recently; helping to support a team-building weekend with the Operation Flinders Foundation in the Adelaide Hills.
The camp was designed to physically and mentally test the Scorpions players and looked to develop leadership and resilience skills amongst the playing group.
The Operation Flinders Foundation aims to build self-esteem, resilience, teamwork and trust amongst at risk youth in South Australia, and was engaged by the Scorpions coaches to facilitate the program.
South Australian Player Development Manager Matt McGregor said that the grant from the Cricket Australia and ACA Professional Development Program gave the Scorpions a chance to participate in the camp.
The Professional Development Program is a joint initiative of the ACA and Cricket Australia, and can provide grants to state associations for skill development workshops.
"[After] some discussions with the Operation Flinders staff, we came up with a really condensed program; packed a lot of the things that they would normally do over ten days into a pretty action packed 24/48 hours for us," McGregor said.
"They did things they didn't know they were capable of, they confronted some fears and overcome some challenges."
Operation Flinders Chief Executive Officer John van Ruth said that the camps help kids to make positive life choices as a result of spending time in the program.
"Operation Flinders helps youth at risk, where we take them out to the northern Flinders Ranges and they hike over 100 kilometres over 8 days,' Van Ruth said.
"[For the kids in the program] is about trusting themselves, challenging themselves to do things they wouldn't otherwise do ad hopefully make positive life choices as a result."
Including current Australian representative Megan Schutt and former representative Sarah Coyte, the Scorpions were blindfolded after not being told their exact departure time from Adelaide.
"One of the things that the girls found most confronting initially was that they weren't to know where they were going on our camp", McGregor said.
The two-day exercise was held in the Adelaide Hills and included hiking, abseiling, leadership and public speaking exercises as well as multiple physical challenges.
Program facilitator Phil Johnson said there was a plan behind the tortuous nature of the opening day.
"Physically they were pushed. The whole idea of the physicality is to bring the [the group] down together, then emotionally and mentally they become on one playing field.
Despite the tough love, Johnson said that the Operation Flinders staff were thrilled with the level of participation and enthusiasm from the South Australians.
"The girls smashed it. We were really impressed with what they put out from that weekend," Johnson said.
The foundation is set to conduct its annual 'Operation Flinders Challenge' on October 8-9, to raise money for its youth programs.
Johnson says that while the organisation does good work, the challenge is promoting it to the public.
"Operation Flinders Foundation we keep saying, is the best kept secret. We have been going 25 years now."
To learn more about Operation Flinders please click here.
The Scorpions begin their WNCL campaign against NSW on October 13.