GMHBA Stadium will turn orange this Saturday night, as the Geelong Cats raise awareness of the Just Think campaign.

The club’s annual Just Think round will see players wear orange-banded socks and goal umpires don orange flags to highlight the alcohol education program which has been providing practical advice for young people regarding alcohol use and safe drinking behaviours since 2008.

The Cats VFL and VFLW team will all wear orange-banded socks this weekend in support of the program’s message to young people and parents: Alcohol can cause damage to a growing brain and young people are best delaying drinking until at least 18 years. The Just Think message will also have a presence at matches in the local leagues of GFNL, BFNL and CDFNL.

Just Think ambassadors Mitch Duncan, Cam Guthrie, Zac Smith and Renee Garing share a passion for the program and educating young people about the impact of alcohol on physical and mental health and the impact of alcohol-fuelled violence.

“Being part of the Just Think program, I have seen first-hand the positive impact education can have on young people’s decisions surrounding alcohol use,” Renee Garing said.

“This weekend is about spreading the Just Think message that alcohol and young people do not mix,” she added.

Geelong Cats’ General Manager Community Development Sarah Albon is pleased to be supporting this program for the 12th consecutive year.

“As our longest standing community program, it is great to see Just Think is continuing to positively impact the young people of Geelong,” Albon said.

“The club, in conjunction with its’ Just Think Program partners, is proud to have the ability to educate and empower young students in the region to make responsible decisions surrounding alcohol.  Our programs have one central purpose – to play our role in building a healthier community with a focus on youth.” 

Sandy Morrison, Barwon Child Youth & Family CEO said he was proud to promote the Just Think message, a message that is aligned to BCYF’s vision for a community where people are safe, connected and empowered to live well.

“Research is showing us that the Just Think message is getting through as highlighted by some positive outcomes in terms of alcohol use amongst young people in recent years,” he said.

Results from the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 indicate that:

- The average age at which young people aged 14-24 first tried alcohol has steadily risen since 1998 from 14.4 to 16.1 in 2016; and

- The average age in initiation was similar for males and females aged 14-24, and between 2013 and 2016, increased for both sexes – from 15.7 to 16.2 for males and from 15.6 to 16.0 for females

“It’s rewarding to know that the message of ‘drinking alcohol in adolescence is harmful to young people’s development’ is being heard,” Mr Morrison added.

“BCYF is proud to be partnering with the Geelong Cats and other Just Think partners in delivering this valuable initiative to young people and their parents within our community.”

The Just Think program is delivered to year 8 & 9 students across the Geelong region in partnership with Barwon Child, Youth & Family (BCYF) and its’ headspace Geelong program, Victoria Police, AFL Barwon, Deakin University, Communities that Care, St John of God and Delko Tools.