Life’s Never Boring – Community Involvement

Over the years I’ve been involved in many community groups in Roma Queensland – taking on various volunteering roles like President, Secretary, Treasurer, Coordinator and active member.
Community involvement isn’t for everyone and it’s a personal choice whether one steps up to participate or not. Volunteering also depends on people’s passion/s, their community mindedness, financial obligations and the time they are willing to commit out of their everyday life.

Recently I was asked a series of questions around volunteering for which I thought I would share my answers:

How long you have been a volunteer for? Most of life, and I’m nearly at the half century.

What inspired you to get involved to volunteer? Improved opportunities for youth and others in rural regional areas, to improve resourcing for local communities; help the region thrive; encourage better understanding of nature, be part of and lead groups to achieve real outcomes; work with and meet inspiring and positive people who embrace challenges and change.

What aspect do you enjoy most about their work? Seeing others succeed, seeing the benefits in the local community of the hard work, working with innovative and passionate people, learning new things from others.

Volunteering can be tiring and it is very important that you can balance volunteering with your other workloads, commitments and priorities (something that has taken me a while to implement myself). Once dedicated I put my all in. While I do feel this has disadvantaged and taken away from my own family in many respects for the greater good; it has also shown our kids the effort involved to help make a difference and provide opportunities for other regional Queenslanders and hopefully their next generations.

My volunteering history during the last twenty odd years. By “my” I also mean my family, as often my husband and kids were called upon to give a hand at various events/activities.

I was actively involved in the Parents & Citizens Association for around twelve years, stepping away the last few as our youngest child nears the end of his schooling. This involved being president for quite a few years, organising a few fetes, lots and lots of other fundraising and grant writing; which included securing air conditioning across all three campuses of the school.

More recently I was the main instigator for establishing a local junior touch football association in Roma which was very successful, giving country kids from western Queensland a chance to develop skills, gain access to better coaching and attend various region and state competitions. We also had a development program for the older juniors, whereby they would become supporting coaches and referees for the younger teams – it was great to see these young people grow and become more confident and skilled themselves by doing this.
I have and continue to coach and manage various local and regional sporting teams.

More recently being a member of Visit Roma (a tourism group) we successfully encouraged Council to revisit the regional tourism brand to be more consumer-centric. If you get a chance follow #RomaRevealed and look out for the new Roma Revealed website coming soon. Another goal was to also review the operations and workings of Roma’s Big Rig Information Centre and as a result I was put on a Big Rig Development Committee which was all about reviewing past plans and reinvigorating the Big Rig Site to encourage visitors to stay longer in our wonderful region. Again, I’m happy to report that since our involvement the Big Rig has turned a major corner, is more profitable, efficient and is well on its way to cementing itself as a tier one tourism attraction in Outback Queensland. I’m looking forward to the opening of the new tower and tree walk which will greatly enhance this iconic oil & gas display (the only one in Australia), located right here in Roma, Queensland. When all the interpretation and special affects are installed this will be an experience that you’ll have to come to Roma to enjoy and one that you can’t miss.

Many of you know that BOOBOOK also branched into ecotourism in the last few years and while being part of the Big Rig Action Group has taken considerable time and taken me away from our own business for the benefit of everyone; it will be great for the region as many businesses indirectly benefit more and more from tourism, including local mechanics, butchers, tyre places, airlines, railways, accommodation, eating places and the retail stores through more visitation from people staying longer in the region. Perhaps also the understanding of the importance and support provided through the tourist dollar came more to light for many in the district when the town wasn’t receiving any visitors due to COVID travel restrictions.

Though my involvement on the Visit Roma Tourism Committee I also recently ended up being a member of a local community COVID-19 Recovery Task Force. Touch wood, Roma has fared reasonably well as a whole through this crisis to date; however there are definitely some businesses who have and still continue to really feel the pinch; particularly those in the hospitality and accommodation industries.

This Task Force engaged with Council, and through their support, initiated a number of actions including a survey of local businesses to determine the impact and business needs; advocacy for financial and other relief support for those affected, a buy local campaign and training to help businesses through the quagmire of literature and requirements around COVID and implementing their COVID safe plans; along with a longer term tourism marketing campaign to help encourage people back to the region.

I’ve been involved in other community committees, such as district hall committee, local tennis clubs and others that as the years go by I can’t remember them all.

Probably the other one that is worth a big mention is the local Maranoa Wildlife Caring Group which I instigated and continue to support. However perhaps I’ll leave the details about this one for another blog.

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