By Jodie Nairn
Volunteering can make a world of difference.
We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week 2019 commencing Monday 20 May, to acknowledge the 6 million Australian volunteers “Making a world of difference”.
Thousands of events will be held across the country to say ‘thank you’ to volunteers for their time. Visit Volunteering Australia  to join in your local activities.
This year, the Beyond Bank Perth team each pledged to volunteer one day in the coming year – which will equate to 75 days of volunteering.
Following this pledge, I decided to support Edmund Rice Camps (Eddie Rice) as they’ve been a partner of the bank for over three years.
Edmund Rice Camps  is a community organisation dedicated to providing camps and recreational activities for children (age 7-16) who may be ‘at risk’ or disadvantaged.
On Saturday 26 April my alarm went off at the crack of dawn ahead of my 90km drive to Guilderton, a small coastal town north of Perth. I arrived to help out with the breakfast chaos; there were about 30 kids attending this camp and 4-5 leaders helping to run the activities.
My role was to help in the kitchen as a ‘Camp Cook’ along with CEO of the Eddie Camps, Kevin Knapp. On arrival, I had the warmest greeting with all the kids singing my name, which was one of my highlights of the day. It wasn’t long after that I was put to work – cooking toast and cleaning up the breakfast dishes. I don’t recall ever washing so many plates in my life!
The kids were lovely and so polite I couldn’t believe how many times I was thanked! The silence was deafening once the kids ventured off with their camp leaders to commence the day’s activities. There was no time to reflect on how quiet it was as Kevin and I needed to prepare lunch.
After lunch was a ‘muck up’ event where the kids got to cover the leaders in flour, baked beans, spaghetti and jelly, to name a few. It certainly looked like fun, but very messy!
There was just enough time between lunch and cleaning up to get the dinner preparations ready! The kids enjoyed every minute, even though it was a very long day for me, it was so rewarding. Each time I think about my day at the camp, I smile.
It’s great to be able to volunteer your time, and it felt that I was making a difference to those who may be less fortunate. To see the engagement from the kids who all seemed to have so much fun.
Edmund Rice cannot run these camps without the help of volunteers. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone.
Beyond Bank also supports Eddie Camps through our Community Reward Program  – where supporters can save their money in a dedicated account that gives back to Edmund Rice Camps. Each year Edmund Rice receives a reward payment, last year they received over $5,000. The community reward account is unique and provides community organisations with an annual payment based on the number of supporters and annual balances that are linked to their cause.