We are very fortunate to have Sevens star Brad Fleming as our new Mentoring Manager based in the Bay of Plenty.
Brad is loving getting to know the Big and Little Buddies in Tauranga, where he grew up, as well as in Hamilton.
Brad retired from professional rugby in 2010 and began working in primary and secondary school sports departments in the Tauranga area and more recently in Queenstown. This is where he developed a desire to work in a more impactful role that helped his community and provided a positive influence on youth, leading him to Big Buddy.
Brad’s career highlights were winning a gold medal as part of the NZ Sevens team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and a World cup sevens championship in 2001. He played for the Hurricanes, Crusaders, and the Highlanders in Super Rugby.
We thought you would enjoy getting to know Brad a little more:
What drew you to the Big Buddy organisation?
I have worked in schools since retiring as a professional rugby player and I saw first-hand the need for good male role models in young people’s lives.
What are you most enjoying about it?
I love meeting potential little buddies and seeing how eager they are to have a Big buddy of their own to hang out with. It sounds like a really simple request but that’s all they want and I get to help make that happen.
Did you have a close relationship with your dad growing up?
I had a good relationship with my dad and was lucky enough to have a big brother as well. My dad was a very hard worker and showed me the benefit of a good work ethic. Because he was busy, the only thing I wish I had more of was time.
Why do you think it is important for a young boy to have a male role model?
I think it is important for young boys to have a consistent and reliable male presence in their lives. A man that the boy can look up to and trust can be life-changing.
Have you had similar roles or is this a bit of a change in direction?
I have coached for a number of years and I see this as a form of mentoring. The athlete/coach relationship is the most important part of coaching and can positively affect the outlook of the people you are working with.
Story by Megan Horsburgh