How to make your RV journeys more worthwhile.
by Andrew Woodmansey
Whilst the plight of Australian farmers dealing with drought, fire, flood and low prices is well known to most Australians, it was this article in the New York Times that caught our attention this month.
Australia's worst mass shooting since Port Arthur took place near Margaret River in early May. Whilst the cause is still being investigated, it appears that economics may have played a role.
This incident serves as a tragic reminder of the pressures that rural families sometimes live and work under. We wish the local community well during its healing process.
Travelling around Australia in an RV is a good cause in itself, but why not consider making that cause even stronger? You will probably be passing through many remote communities, so why not stop and lend a hand?
These days it's not a good idea to just turn up and expect to be welcomed with open arms. Volunteering is a serious business that needs planning, co-ordination, skill-matching, protection and insurance. Those in need want the right type of support at the right time from the right people.
So it's best to volunteer through a professional organisation. Here are a few that may be of particular interest to RV travellers.
BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Working alongside the rural families, their volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed.
Equally important, volunteers also help to lift the spirits of people who are often facing their second or third flood event after years of drought, or devastating losses through bushfires. BlazeAid volunteers work in a disaster-affected area for many months, not only helping individuals and families, but also helping rebuild the local communities.
Outback Links is Frontier Services' volunteer program. It has more than 10 years’ experience connecting skilled volunteers with people in remote Australia who could use a helping hand. It is a unique, Australia wide service. Outback Links has a community of more than 1200 volunteers from
various backgrounds who share a passion for ‘giving back’ to farmers in remote Australia.
Frontier Services is a charity and national agency of the Uniting Church that grew out of the pioneering work begun in 1912 by the Rev John Flynn (“Flynn of the Inland”). Volunteers do not necessarily need to have a religious background, but police and working with children certificates are required and a first aid qualification is recommended.
Conservation Volunteers makes it easy for people to care for nature by volunteering on one of their many conservation projects across the country. Volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds and no prior skills or experience are required, and volunteer projects are available to suit your availability and particular interests.
Conservation Volunteers projects are managed in conjunction with project partners that includes regional councils, national parks, museums, landcare groups, conservation departments and other national conservation agencies.
Grey Nomad Volunteeers
Not an organisation as such, but the Grey Nomads classified ads section can be a good place to look for volunteering opportunities in rural and regional Australia.
Volunteers will need to make their own enquiries regarding their suitability to the position offered, but some well-known organisations use these pages to find volunteers including The Stockman's Hall of Fame in QLD.
Go Volunteer is the largest volunteer database in the country, allowing you to match your own skills to specific opportunities or locations.