ADF children meet bullying head on

This article has photo gallery Published on CPL Julia Whitwell (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra

Topic(s): Health, Fitness and Wellbeing, Australian Defence Force Academy

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Adam Cooper and his four daughters have taken part in the inaugural ADF Integrated Combat Club anti-bullying program at the ADFA Indoor Sports Centre, Canberra. From left, Penny (13), Hope (10), LCDR Cooper, Ophelia (8) and Stella (12). (photo: Unknown)
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Adam Cooper and his four daughters have taken part in the inaugural ADF Integrated Combat Club anti-bullying program at the ADFA Indoor Sports Centre, Canberra. From left, Penny (13), Hope (10), LCDR Cooper, Ophelia (8) and Stella (12).

After 10 weeks of anti-bullying training, 20 children of ADF members have passed the first stages of becoming superheroes of the playground.

The first ADF Integrated Combat Club (ICC) anti-bullying program wrapped up on April 8, at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) Indoor Sports Centre, with an intense grading for the students.

The pilot program used a combination of martial arts techniques to teach the participants defensive tactics and body language, to put a stop to bullying.

LCDR Adam Cooper, of Navy Strategic Command, said having his children in the program gave him peace of mind.

“As a father of four girls, I am grateful that a program like this exists for members of the ADF,” LCDR Cooper said.   

“I've seen my girls grow in confidence as they have advanced in the training.”  

ICC-Canberra Senior Instructor, CHAP Mick George said the program was all about developing character, with its underpinning theme being to train ‘Superheroes in the Playground’.

“Participants are also taught the values of respect, courage, and manners in their training.”

“The children can earn a badge for each value as part of their grading,” CHAP George said. 

“We focus on building character and confidence of participants, as well as providing them some basic self-defence techniques.”

Commandant ADFA, BRIG Cheryl Pearce, officiated the grading ceremony to conclude the pilot program and said the course had provided the participants with foundation skills and techniques to better equip themselves in the battle against bullying.

“This is a great program which has started these young people on a road to recognising the signs of bullying. It will give them the confidence to step up and help put a stop to it,” BRIG Pearce said. 

“The prevention of bullying is everyone’s responsibility, and by arming our young people with a tool box of practical skills, we’re giving them the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

“The course participants were a credit to themselves and their families. They were respectful of their peers and their instructors, completing all of the tasks under tough assessment conditions.” 

ICC-Canberra Supervising Officer GPCAPT David Banham said as participants advanced through the program, they would become eligible to help mentor new participants.

“With the success of our pilot program, we would like to see the course rolled out to other ADF ICCs nationally, to allow children to continue their training, even when their parents post interstate,” CPCAPT Banham said. 

Enrolments for term two of children of Canberra based ADF personal are now being taken. The Point of Contact is CHAP George, whose contact details are on the Defence system.