Undeterred by the sudden arrival of wintery weather, 80 people attended the UCA VicTas moderator’s luncheon panel at St Stephen’s Wodonga titled ‘Courage roars quietly’.
Facilitated by Rev Sharon Hollis, the three-women panel had the audience enthralled as they discussed keys to resilience both as individuals and as a community.
Various experts describe finding resilience in many ways. These can include springing back from a bungy jump, riding a wave and, yesterday at St Stephen’s, attendees were encouraged to follow the example of Taylor Swift’s instructive song Shake it off.
St John’s ambulance trainer and Albury’s 2015 citizen of the year, Margaret Whittaker has a very down-to-earth view on managing the hardships of life. One of her roles is teaching first aid to migrants. Margaret’s desire to help Sudanese and Vietnamese students pass their first aid course so they can get a job in child care reinforces her belief that caring for people is an essential ingredient to building a community’s resilience.
When asked by the moderator about the role of humour in remaining resilient, Margaret said there was no point going on with your bottom lip on the ground all the day. “I just have to get on,” she said.
ABC Albury morning presenter Gaye Pattison talked of some of the challenges facing the Albury Wodonga community – homelessness, unemployment, lack of access to education.
Gaye also referred to the strength of the refugee community. She spoke of a graduation ceremony for new refugees who had completed the fit-to-work program. However, her concern was what sort of jobs the community has to offer, as employment shrinks.
“I want to be part of a community that is rich and vibrant, not just a service community involving hospitality and tourism, but with lots of options,” Gaye said.
Amanda Laycock, the third panellist, is a junior-school teacher at Scots School Albury, specialising in resilience.
She believes modelling resilience to young people is important.
Amanda said a Learning Well framework had been introduced at Scots which encouraged students to be risk-takers. “I hope they will have courage and not be scared of failure,” Amanda said.
“Knowing that failure is normal will open up their whole world.
“To live with less fear. A bit more confidence. Wouldn’t that be amazing? A confidence that helps in everyday things, that helps you have a go.”
That seemed to be the message for all who had attended: show a little courage in all that we do, and practice by starting small and jumping in.