By Belle Hann
When Steve Gauci’s doctor told him he needed to lose some weight, he was not looking forward to joining a gym. He didn’t like the beefy, competitive gym culture, and he also had a gutful of fad diets.
Then he remembered reading a newspaper article about the “Sons of the West” men’s health program. The article had described a weekly program that brought local men together for fun and friendship. It offered discussion around men’s health topics followed by some group exercise. “This was a different way,” he thought at the time.
He subsequently signed up, and now he has been part of the Sons of the West program for four years. He is a regular friendly face at the Brimbank Sons of the West group, and has since completed the Leadership Program with the Western Bulldogs.
“It’s a friendly non-competitive atmosphere for everyone,” says Steve. “(The program) allows guys to go at their own pace and find their own way.” He also enjoyed participating in various challenges that offer incentives like dressing room passes and other opportunities to meet the Western Bulldogs players (though he admits that he supports Collingwood!)
While the men have opportunities to discuss serious topics like prostrate issues and family violence, they also have fun learning about healthy eating from professional dietitians. “Last week, we learned how to make Vietnamese paper rolls,” says Steve. There is also the “Locker Room” that provides mental health support for men having a tough time.
Mayor of Brimbank, Cr Lucinda Congreve says the council is proud to partner with the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation to provide the Sons of the West program in the Brimbank area. “(It) has been running successfully in Brimbank for the last six years and it just keeps getting better.” The program is expanding across Victoria, with local groups in areas like Sunbury, Whittlesea,