I'm three weeks out from participating in my first OXFAM Trailwalker - an event for teams of four people who walk together for 100km within 48 hours on a trail which takes you from the suburb of Wheelers Hill to the town of Warburton.

My team consists of four amazing women, all neighbors in our gorgeous suburb of Sandhurst. We've been training, fundraising, talking (lots of it - I'm in charge of the Questions) and now at the pointy end of the event.

Team Out Of Bubbles  - Sharon Magdziarz Louise Thomson Kristin Mellet & Sharon Green

Team Out Of Bubbles - Sharon Magdziarz Louise Thomson Kristin Mellet & Sharon Green

We've just received the news that we're kicking off at 6:30am, which we had the privilege of selecting due to our current fundraising total of $8000 (there are only three teams - all businesses - who are ahead of us) and we want to scale the nasty steps, hills and mountains within daylight, not in head-torches.

We've also received news that one of our members has a health issue which has arisen from our training sessions and we now have to wait to learn if she can complete the walk. We're devastated. She's devastated. The amount of work we (and our families, friends and support crews) have poured into this activity is insane and we can't imagine not walking with her. 

Our team dilemma is almost out of our hands however she's persistent in telling us that she's walking however we all feel responsible for her health - we did convince her to join our challenge!

Our team challenge is no different to the many challenges facing business teams and we've approached this like a project: contingency plans, roles, rules of engagement, conflict charters, testing the whole 100km trail, in all wealther conditions, read every rule, learnt to read maps and most importantly, we know why we're doing it!  To top it off, we constantly communicate,  review our excel spreadsheet plans and of utmost priority we are having a bloody great time.

We gained our interest from JB HiFi's corporate team approach and very proud of ourselves with our fundraising blitz. So, here's the BIG call out. We want to win the fundraising Leaderboard. So, if you want to show some Friday support - donate to our team .... right now. One of the gains of reaching our target is having our own private toilet at our checkpoints along the trail. ($120 helps Oxfam provide one toilet for 40 people in natural disasters.)

Our Dunnies will have 3ply paper and red carpet!

Our Dunnies will have 3ply paper and red carpet!

And, if you're wondering, we do have a team name -> Out Of Bubbles. This has been a great name for marketing as it captures a commonality - the love of Champagne.

So, in three weeks we'll be as ready as we can be to walk and talk, decked out with our walking gear consisting of poles, camel pack, tracking shoes, toe socks, plastered feet, wet weather wear, sweat sucking tops and shorts, head-torches and ready to stay awake for 25 hours. We'll have 84 snacks ready to devour along the way and a support crew who will meet us at all checkpoints to answer all our whims!

Wish us luck.




We should all volunteer!

It's National Volunteer Week this week. Well, it's Volunteer week 52 weeks a year! 

Imagine our world if no-one volunteered.

Crickey - things wouldn't get done, people would die and maybe more people would need to work harder! (I doubt our Australian government would consider paying for some of the volunteer work to get done.)

Seriously, celebrating Volunteerism is worthy of a day off to gather, drink & eat! I'm sure I've seen figures which indicate the number of people who volunteer and what it saves our economy. Grandparents look after kids, parents guide the management of their children's schools, sporting clubs operate the business of training & competition, the CFA save homes & livelihoods and hundreds of thousands of committees of people volunteer their time, skill and energy to support their cause. 

Through hard work and tireless hours, there are many personal benefits of volunteering. Often considered as the 'giving of skills' - I found my 18 years of volunteering whilst working in the corporate world I was more at the receiving end.  The 'out of hours' project management, member drives (Marketing, PR & Recruitment), strict meeting procedure (modern day governance!), fund raising (proposal writing) and event management etc where the blood sweat & tears toned my leadership muscle.

If your team members are regularly involved in a volunteer capacity, your support is a win-win in your relationship. You are encouraging them to be connected with something they are passionate about (they will be happier) and they are learning more about their own capabilities identifying the importance of continuous learning in all aspects of life. 

Volunteering is not two days of activity which your company sends you off on - however, it's an amazing discovery opportunity to uncover what you can do to help, build and grow others and yourself.  

Join the Volunteer movement - check out all the activities being promoted this week and take the lead and become involved.