What was your first volunteer role and how did it come about?My first role was working on the Executive Committee for the Tides of Welcome Choir. As a relatively new resident to Queenscliff in 2014, I was keen to join the choir and another member put my name forward to be on the committee.
What prompted you to become a volunteer?I had a long career organising professional development events in the disability and mental health sectors. I was keen to use my skills to collaborate with other individuals and groups to contribute to the community. I have a strong interest in inclusion matters for people who are marginalised and I love being part of the community development on the Bellarine.
What has been the most unexpected benefit you have experienced as a volunteer?Meeting so many interesting people and feeling so lucky to be part of Queenscliff community. I've learned so much from locals and working with special guests that come to our events, e.g. Margaret Pomeranz, Kerry Armstrong, the Grigoryan Brothers...
How do you manage to balance the often contrasting demands on your time as a volunteer?Some weeks are incredibly hectic, like this one, when I'm involved in two major events – Queenscliffe Literary Festival and Bellarine Lighthouse Film Festival. Working with teams of people with such a wide range of skills and looking out for each other gets us through. A sense of humour and having lots of fun is key to enjoying the various roles. The housework goes to the bottom of the list!
What would you recommend to someone thinking about volunteering?Think about your skills and interests that you can contribute in a group environment, but also that you want to build on.
How do you manage to juggle the economics dichotomy of running a festival where people pay to attend, alongside paid performers, and volunteer helpers?It's important that everyone feels valued and acknowledged by individuals and organisation committee members. All the input from cooks/cleaners to those who have higher profiles are important parts of the combined effort and there are many ways to recognise people in diverse roles.