Linda and Helen ventured to Mooney Valley Racecourse to attend the 2019 Communities in Control Conference. This is a an annual conference that is designed for the not-for-profit/voluntary sector and brings up to 500 community workers together from around Australia. This year’s theme was Get Angry – Then Get Organised.
They met people working and volunteering in neighbourhood houses, community health, specialist support services, the disability sector and local government. Each year the conference invites young people from Bendigo Senior Secondary College to participate and give voice to youth. This year the special volunteer guests were those who worked to improve the rights of refugees.
It is a full two days of community activism, laughter and tears. Everyone was inspired to keep trying to change the world and to work collaboratively to continue to work with and for those who do not have privilege. It nourishes the soul of the community sector and every one of those 500 participants left the conference energised with strategies and renewed confidence to continue their important work.
Helen’s highlights included (in no particular order):
- The address by Father Rod Bower who talked about the need for communities and organisations to provide a place for people to belong, rather than expecting them to ‘fit in’. If we are going to truly tap into the multifaceted skills and abilities of individuals we need to provide a space where these are appreciated. That means that it important for the community or organisation to adapt to the individual rather than requiring them to change so that they ‘fit in’.
- The comic genius of Lee Lin Chin (former news presenter, current fashionista and social media sensation) who put in all in perspective in her address about being a trail blazer and making plans. This can come about quite by accident. So rather than getting obsessed and bogged down with 5, 10 and 20 career and life plans, sometimes it is better to just say ‘yes’ to something that excites you, enjoy the journey and see where it takes you.
- The music of Emily Wurramara to open the conference and help us to find our place, and Shane Howard to get us angry so that we ready to get organised.
Linda’s highlights included:
- The Future Crunch team who showed us the good things in the world and the remarkable scientific advances that have been made over the past five to ten years. They reminded us that the media has a vested interest in bad news because it attracts our attention, pushes our fear buttons and keeps us hooked on negativity. To increase our mental wellbeing as human beings we need a good dose of good news. I have subscribed to their newsletter at https://futurecrun.ch
- Dr Jason Fox stated that when asking employees what motivates them most at work, it is having a clear sense of progress and celebrating the small wins which sustains momentum. Such an important reminder particularly for those of us who work with long term goals.