Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Emily Shines in Bid to Win Quest

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Emily Shines in Bid to Win Quest

Article excerpt

IT FEELS like only yesterday I was sitting here at the same desk, staring at the same computer, hands at the ready on the same keyboard wondering how I was going to introduce myself as the 2013/14 Jupiters Summer Surf Girl entrant.

You see, I was hesitant because the community had only just been through its biggest flood in recorded history and here I was about to embark on a year-long fundraising and awareness quest representing the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club.

I did not feel comfortable asking a community, that had already lost so much, to support me when hundreds didn't even have enough money to fix their homes and businesses.

But it was during the time of the flood and the massive clean up effort afterwards that I saw a different side to surf life savers, who were a long way from their usual haunt between the red and yellow flags on our region's beaches.

They were there at evacuation points, at the ready with Inflatable Rescue Boats and first-aid provision and were there for the Mud Army's big clean up.

And I think that was something the community found really comforting - that the people they trusted to guard our beaches, they could trust during those dark days and months of recovery.

I realised then that the Jupiters Summer Surf Girl competition isn't just about the money.

Yes, raising funds is important, but none more so than raising awareness of an organisation that is there for the community whether it is between the flags or in times of natural disaster.

And so began my year-long adventure.

A Surf Girl committee was formed and we immediately began brainstorming fundraising ideas and surf safety awareness campaigns relevant to our region.

Our first major fundraiser was the 2014 Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club calendar.

I do have a long list of thank yous and the first should probably go out to every single person I approached, heckled with and, in some cases, playfully bribed to buy one of the calendars at festivals, shopping centres and businesses.

I'm pretty sure I forced every single family member, their families and their families' families to buy the calendars as Christmas gifts, so hopefully there aren't too many voodoo pins stuck into my face for the month of December. …

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