Pip Smith, Amber Smith and Pip’s father Marto volunteering at the St Mary’s Athletics carnival.
What gave you the motivation/inspiration to become involved in the community?
When my children were tiny I felt overwhelmed with domesticity – life felt like ground hog day, juggling life with small children and farm life, you slip into survival mode so I liked the idea of being able to get out of the house with the children, meet new people and help out whilst giving myself some time out.
Realising there are so many people and organisations that rely on volunteers it seemed like a no brainer and just so rewarding to meet new friends and catch up with old friends. It’s great for your mental health – you keep busy and my life tended to become more organised!
What has been one of the biggest barriers you have had to face, what happened, and how did you overcome it?
Time management has always been my barrier – learning to say no and that I can’t do everything. Ensuring I have had enough sleep is the best thing you can do for oneself – it allows me to function at full capacity whilst also knowing the signs of when I need to slow down and say no or catch up on sleep.
Oh and keeping a diary of everyone’s (my family) activities on my desk, writing in it daily or updating it always, allowing me to prioritise. Sadly you do miss out on some things in life but that passes and you’re on to the next thing.
What would you tell your 18 year old self knowing what you know now?
I would not change anything in my life except for a few silly things I have said or done when I have had too much to drink. But I would like to tell my 18 year old self to TRUST your gut instinct or to learn how to trust your gut instinct and then act on it.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
They are endless – it’s fun, the knowledge you gain, the confidence it gives you to feel a part of the community, the people you meet, the friendships you gain – how grateful it makes you feel, it’s priceless really.
How can people get involved in their local community?
It is hard if you are new to a community or perhaps just shy, sometimes I believe the best way to gain volunteers is for volunteers to ask others – it is amazing when you ask people who want to help but they have never been asked. It does not bother me when people tell me they can’t help, they’re too busy, or it’s not for them.
I never give up, I will ask again next time as everyone is in a different space or pathway in their life and you will find that the majority of people are able to give their time at some point.
Joining an association or club is always an easy way to get involved. Every club/society/association/board/committee I have been involved with welcomes anyone who shows interest with open arms.
One really easy way to get involved would be to join your local CWA, Red Cross, Church, fishing club – men’s shed – Rotary or Lions. Within a short period of time you will work out whether you want to hang out with these people or if it is not for you. Volunteering can lead to endless possibilities – so much fun and frivolity, frustrations but lots of laughs, friendships and good times.
What does being a rural woman mean to you?
Two different meanings really – I am blessed to be married to Norm and be a graziers/farmers wife. Living on the land has provided our children with a beautiful upbringing – lots of space and I guess reap what you sow.
I feel those who live on the land should really take the time to educate city folk (I mean those who live east of the mountains) about rural life – where your food comes from – how your fibres are grown – and how mobile service/data/netflix are not readily available to us. We still use a paging system to receive notifications about bush fires as we do not have good mobile service even though we live 5 hours from Sydney.
Being a rural woman means I am a part of the Wellington community. We are an eclectic lot who are bloody blessed and proud. Wouldn’t change it for quids.
An annual initiative of the Department of Primary Industries’ Rural Women’s Network, Hidden Treasures recognises the outstanding efforts of women volunteers in NSW and promotes the valuable role of volunteering to the community.
You can nominate a friend, family member, colleague, community worker – any rural woman who you believe makes your community a better place to live. To nominate a Hidden Treasures volunteer you simply need to complete the Nomination Form and tell us a short ‘story’ about why your nominee is worthy.
All rural women nominated will be included in the 2019 Honour Roll to be launched at the annual NSW Rural Women’s Gathering in Walcha on 3 November 2019. To nominate a rural woman in your community, visit https://bit.ly/2JK1qxH