The crowning was a wonderful celebration of our year as entrants, alongside Angela, Katharine, Liz and Paige. We were able to present cheques to Ronald McDonald House to fund their breakfast program, Country Hope to assist volunteer training for their camp for children with life threatening illnesses, and The Leisure Company to help with an outdoor space for people with a disability to continue their activities in the colder months. We also helped the Mary Potter Palliative Care Unit purchase a piano for musical therapy and the Specialist Medical Resources Foundation spread the word about how they assist families in affording medical costs and equipment.
Our official duties began with radio interviews with Star FM, 2WG and ABC, recapping the quest adventure. We were invited to ride in a fire truck with Santa Claus at a day for defence families at RAAF Base. Sarah and Megan Short (2016 Community Princess) helped Santa give lollies and ice creams to the excited children. Sarah and Jes had an afternoon tea with Mayor Greg Conkey, where we discussed what’s in store for the city in 2017, including a new canola oil product range called ‘Wagga Wagga’ launching in India. Sarah paid a visit to her former primary school, Wagga Wagga Public School, where she was swamped with lots of questions about the quest and the role Miss Wagga Wagga plays in the community. We would love to visit more schools during our reign!
The 2017 entrants were invited to a thank you supper at Ronald McDonald House, where Deb and the team officially thanked us for our contribution throughout the year. They shared how the house benefits families in times of stress, with little ones in hospital. For ‘McHappy Day’ Sarah volunteered at McDonalds East Wagga, collecting spare change for Ronald McDonald House and trying her hand at delivering food in the drive thru! We both attended a mayoral breakfast with the newly elected school captains from all of the high schools in Wagga. They shared the unique initiatives they are doing within their schools and ideas on how council can better support youth in the city, including more free community events and accessible transport.
For RESPECT Week 2016 we helped man a stall in the marketplace, giving out balloons to kids and spreading the message of respect in the home, the workplace and in our community. We attended The Leisure Company AGM, where we heard about the success of its programs, and saw former Mayor Rod Kendall elected as the new Chairperson. We chatted to clients about how they are gaining fulfilment through gardening activities, cooking programs, and work placement opportunities… and were even lucky enough to hear a musical performance! It’s amazing to see the support surrounding this integral community service, which was one of our beneficiaries in this year’s quest.
The inaugural Wagga White Ribbon Ball on November 25th received an absolutely outstanding response, with 300 people in attendance. Organised by local police and male role models from defence and emergency services, it raised awareness about domestic violence, and funds for the Wagga Women’s Health Centre. We had the privilege of meeting Victoria Cross recipient Keith Payne, as well as Doug and Kaye, the parents of VC recipient Cameron Baird. Corporal Baird trained in Wagga, and was given the honour after being killed in Afghanistan in 2013.
We also had the opportunity to visit Kapooka Army Base during its family open day. We were given a tour of military vehicles, tested our fitness by attempting to climb the ropes, witnessed a parachute landing and even had the opportunity to fire guns! We were introduced to Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Stephens and were given a great insight into the training recruits undertake at Kapooka.
We count ourselves very lucky to have already had amazing experiences as titleholders and can’t wait for what the next 11 months will bring! (not that we’re counting). If you’d like us to be involved in your special event, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MWW and CP xx