JCI Illawarra Springs into Corrimal

Today I made the effort to do something new and as is usually the case, I’m really glad I did. With the direction of JCI Illawarra member Bailey Bond our members were invited to assist Corrimal Chamber of Commerce in the marshalling of the Spring into Corrimal parade and while that may not seem all too important to some, hear me out.

The way I see it, JCI has two complimentary areas of focus in order to achieve the JCI mission;

“To provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change.”

This is why I joined, this is why Bailey joined, and this is what it’s all about.

My role as lead on our MentorMe 2016 Committee focuses on providing professional development opportunities by facilitating mentoring relationships between our members and the business leaders of the Illawarra. Serving as a platform for a range of professional development opportunities is one area of focus but volunteering to help Spring into Corrimal was about the other focus, active citizenship.

Active citizenship for me is about adding value to the communities around us however we can. This can take a number of forms be it developing and running our own JCI Illawarra programs, or fundraising, facilitating, volunteering or raising awareness for others.

Spring into Corrimal showcases local businesses and community organisations, highlights the regions cultural diversity and brings joy to thousands of families.

Volunteering is a massive part of Spring into Corrimal. Without the unpaid hours and dedication of volunteers like Bailey Bond and Corrimal Chamber of Commerce President Paul Boultwood an event like Spring into Corrimal just wouldn’t happen and anyone who has attended this 35 year old annual event would know how much of a loss this would be.

My very minor volunteering role for the day was to help marshal one of the groups in the parade. I had the great fortune to be paired up with Bruce Rowles from Autism Spectrum Australia to organise their participation in this years parade. As such I spent the morning with a small group of truly dedicated parents and their little ones.

Spending time with this group and seeing the care and support these families provide each other was just awesome. Facilitating their participation in the parade to raise awareness for Autism, sourcing free balloons provided by Corrimal Community Pre-school, watching the kids interact with the local business mascots in the parade and posing for photos on police bikes, encouraging the occasional wave to the crowd, it all served to bring joy to families that truly deserve it.

Without volunteers giving just a small portion of their time these moments don’t happen.

Today was great. While I honestly didn’t do a whole lot, I would definitely be keen to take part again next year. Sometimes we undervalue being a small part of something larger but only through engaging such opportunities do we open ourselves to having new experiences, meeting great new people and facilitating the creation of positivity and value in our communities.

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