AVONDALE School, at Cooranbong, has marked 20 consecutive years of free public service to the NSW country town of Cobar.
The school’s StormCo program – it stands for Service to Others Really Matters Company – challenges students to serve a rural community without the expectation of anything in return.
It also helps students to develop leadership skills.
Thirty-two team members from Avondale School recently spent a week of their mid-year school holidays to serve Cobar.
“Each afternoon, the team was involved in community projects which ranged from moving mulch for the primary school, to ‘Pick a Street’, in which students would randomly clean and garden for Cobar residents, free of charge,” Avondale’s marketing and communications manager, Colin Chuang, said.
A unique feature of the annual Cobar trip is the mentoring program which sees Cobar youths join the STORMCo team for the week.
“During this trip, 10 Cobar young people joined the team, along with another five who returned to Cobar especially for StormCo,” Mr Chuang said.
Morning activities took place in the Cobar Primary School hall, and included music, drama, puppetry, games, face painting and crafts focusing on the theme of ‘Celebration’.
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A special event was held on the Monday, where a Pinnacle Challenge – on a mobile recreation trailer – was provided to allow kids to challenge themselves by rock-climbing and leaping out to a trapeze bar. The team also connected with local churches to provide Kid’s Club activities.
On Thursday afternoon, the team gathered at the Youthie for the annual pancake feed and the creation of a 20th StormCo anniversary handprint wall.
“The wall artwork was painted by Sahara Deppeler and Zoe Cochrane, and everyone, including mayor Liliane Brady, youth worker Narelle Kriz and former Avondale School StormCo leader, Mel Lemke, lined up to add their handprints to the wall.”
A special anniversary cake was presented to the StormCo team by the town of Cobar, and Cr Brady thanked the StormCo team for their contribution over the last two decades.
“This year’s team comprised leader Jonathan (Jono) Christian on his seventh trip, 18 current students from Avondale School, two teachers, a cook, 10 former students, and one additional leader,” Mr Chuang said.
“The two teachers who accompanied the team were Carlie Fraser, who had been a StormCo team member in 2008 when she was a student, and Braden Oliver, who was on the first ever school StormCo trip to Cobar when he was in Year 10.
“Both were delighted to be part of this special trip, which brought back many memories and created new ones.”
Mr Christian said he hoped that the association between Cobar and the StormCo team from Avondale School would continue for many years.