Celebrating the Diversity of Volunteers
Trang and Graham are a wonderful example of the diversity of the volunteers at Holiday Explorers. While they share an enthusiasm and motivation to enrich the lives of South Australian adults with intellectual disability, they each have a unique set of skills and life experiences which they have been able to incorporate in their volunteering, to the benefit of Tourists.
Our volunteers come from a widely diverse range of backgrounds; as an organisation we cherish this diversity, and see it as adding another level of experience to the many opportunities available for Tourists on Holiday Explorers trips. Each volunteer brings a unique blend of life experience, skills and expertise to every Holiday Explorers trip, creating a rich environment with endless possibilities for skill development and personal growth for our Tourists. This is a critical strength of our volunteer based model of service delivery, where in 2018, our 54 volunteers, provided approximately 22,000 hours of volunteer time.
Our volunteer diversity was perfectly illustrated in a 3 day jetty fishing adventure along the South Australian coastline. This group bonded over an interest in fishing, taking part with varying experience and knowledge. Together, the group visited several beaches, set themselves up on jetties and experimented with various fishing methods, gaining tips and tricks from locals along the way. In response to other interests within the group, they also visited the coastal towns of Port Willunga and McLaren Vale for some delicious chocolate sampling and then wine tasting at the impressive new D’Arenberg Cube. The five Tourists on this trip were supported by Holiday Explorers volunteers Graham and Trang.
Graham, 56, has been a valued Holiday Explorers volunteer since 2010, after immigrating to Adelaide with his family from the UK. Motivated by a desire to learn about and give back to his new community and to make a difference for individuals with intellectual disability, Graham is a self-employed landscape gardener by trade and a very experienced tour guide in his volunteer capacity. With no previous experience in this area, Graham took part in the training program required by all Holiday Explorers volunteers, which is designed to educate and empower volunteers to feel confident and supported in their role. Graham has since averaged approximately 2 trips per month, ranging from day trips, weekend trips and longer trips throughout South Australia, Australia and even overseas.
Trang, 30, is another member of Holiday Explorers valued volunteer network. Living in Adelaide while study for a Master of Disability, Policy and Practice at Flinders University, Trang began volunteering with Holiday Explorers in 2017. Originally from Vietnam, Trang worked in Public Health before coming to Adelaide and was motivated to volunteer as a way of gaining valuable experience relative to her Masters study. She was attracted to the comprehensive nature of the volunteer training at Holiday Explorers and the opportunity to work directly with adults with intellectual disability, where she could use her experience and skills to have a positive impact on others. On completion of her Masters study, Trang is keen to take the valuable experience gained through her volunteer work at Holiday Explorers back to Vietnam, where she hopes to contribute to the development of similar programs for people with intellectual disability.
Holiday Explorers recognises and values the work of its dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers (past and present).