How it all beganIn 2008, I joined the University of Queensland Oxfam group and helped to organise an event called Dance for your World – a showcase of international dancing on Queen Street Mall. We raised a huge amount of awareness (and about $5000), with countless people stopping to watch the show and to ask about Oxfam. As well as contributing to Oxfam’s goals, personally I gained skills and experience in organising events and I made a heap of new friends to boot — many of whom I still see regularly. I’ve been a regular Oxfam ‘vollie’ ever since.
Walking the trailWhen Oxfam Trailwalker came to Brisbane in 2010 the buzz was incredible and Oxfam became a household name in Queensland. Every Oxfam Trailwalker participant tells on average one hundred people what they’re doing, so with 400 teams x 4 people x 100…well, you get the idea; that’s a huge amount of people who are learning something about Oxfam. I took on the challenge and walked the Brisbane trail in 2011. It was one of the hardest, yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. My team, ‘Three Jacks and a Jill’, raised about $5000 for Oxfam and all our friends and colleagues were right behind us. They wanted to know why we were doing this crazy event and were keen to know about the work of Oxfam that was motivating us to do it. Without a doubt some of the best moments for me along those trails was the unfailing support of all the volunteers. Just when you got to your lowest ebb of the night, there was a marshal in a fluoro get-up cheering you on. It’s amazing what a few words of encouragement can do and it’s safe to say that without their tireless support I’d never have finished the 100km.
The London MarathonI continued my support of Oxfam and my desire for challenges in 2012 when I was in the UK and I ran the London Marathon for Oxfam. Again, the volunteers were the highlight of my event. Not only did they boost me along the track, but they made me feel like a superstar after I’d finished. The amount of energy in the post-race room made me feel like I could go out there and run it all again! I couldn’t thank them enough.
Volunteering at Oxfam TrailwalkerSo having experienced it numerous times myself I thought I should return the support and in 2013 I decided to volunteer for Oxfam Trailwalker. It was time to be one of those amazing vollies myself. I marshalled the trail on the Friday night, cheering on the walkers as they passed and ensuring they were heading in the right direction. On Saturday night I was an Assistant Checkpoint Coordinator ensuring the smooth running of the checkpoint and supporting other volunteers with their roles. The looks of determination, delight, anguish and joy on the walkers’ faces reminded me what they were putting themselves through and hopefully I was able to inspire and support them along their journey (or at least give them a much needed sugar-hit with the chocolate and lollies we were handing out!). Plus, I got to wear a fluoro jacket and wave a red light sabre around all night — every boy’s dream (right?!).
Create your own Oxfam StoryMy advice to you is to not hesitate and just get involved. Be a part of it, be wonderful and be inspired — come and join the Oxfam Trailwalker volunteering crew. You’ll receive full training and support, gain valuable experience in working with people from all walks of life, make new friends, and do something amazing for the world in the process. Oxfam Trailwalker raises more than $8 million a year nationally to support the vital work of Oxfam both here and overseas. That’s $8 million to help some of the world’s poorest, most disadvantaged people. To respond to disasters like the Syrian refugee crisis; to advocate for a fairer trading system where farmers receive a fair income for their crops; to help people learn how to help themselves out of poverty. Your support makes this happen!
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