This year, the hyp journey is about making a contribution and while we have discovered that there are many ways we can contribute in our personal and professional lives, I recently embarked on a rewarding personal journey to contribute by volunteering in the community. This blog is a timely opportunity for me to share my firsthand experience with contributing to a greater purpose and the benefits I received for doing so. This month, I took leave from work with the support of my employer to contribute to a community cause that I care about – Camp Quality.

In 2017, I became a Camp Quality Companion and by the beginning of 2018 I had somehow signed my partner and his brother up as cyclists for the Camp Quality 1000ks4Kids Fundraiser and myself as support crew.

It was a whirlwind ten days and just like that, my Camp Quality #1000ks4kids adventure is over.

My experience with Camp Quality relates not only to our theme for 2018 but also in terms of further developing my leadership and networking skills.

Firstly, this fundraising trip is an INDESCRIBABLE experience. It sounds cliché but the people you meet, the overall journey both physical and mental for many and the actual reality of what you are helping contribute to is overwhelming and awe inspiring.

Secondly, the work that goes into this from both paid employees and volunteers at Camp Quality, especially the behind the scenes logistics is incredible and I tip my hat to each and every person.

On this 1000km challenge from Maleny to Warners Bay, 40 riders and 35 support crew banded together to raise over $430,000!

Much like the workplace, many different personalities can be seen (and heard) but this well-oiled machine (event) ensures that cooperation shines through to serve the common goal – it’s all for the kids!

Some people are pushed from their comfort zone, not just because of the enormous bike ride they are undertaking or being a constant happy face for ten days but because they have put themselves out there and are meeting new people – networking on steroids you could say but in a really fun and not illegal way.

Leadership can be seen in noticeable ways from the amazing event coordinators, filtering through the captains of the team and right down to a simple check-in from one person to another, with, “How did you go today?” and finishing with a hug. By the end of the trip, everyone knows everyone pretty well and friendships have been formed, a bond bound together with coffee, pedals, crazy on-the-side-of-the-road antics, paparazzi shots and the odd alcoholic beverage or two.

The finishing touch to all of this though, is coming home and being greeted by a rainbow of people and loved ones, who are so damn proud of you. You are every emotion under the sun by this stage, but it doesn’t matter because we made it. Yes, at times it was hard but when you have a common goal entwined with your own personal reason for undertaking this commitment, the drive that you have is unstoppable.

However, this is where this event is not like the workplace. In the workplace, there are people who don’t give a crap about the common goal and their leadership skills can be seen as walking the walk and talking the talk but not actually doing anything.

My message to you, is to do something. My own journey, both professional and personal keeps on developing. I have learnt a lot about myself on this trip, and the personalities of others, and I will continue to learn and grow. Be a leader who people feel comfortable talking to, one that listens to ideas but also contributes their own, a leader ready to stand up for someone when no one else will.

Luckily for me, 72 people are now part of my network who will be sure to help me along the way and put my name down to cycle for 100ks a day for ten days if I lose my way!

– Jorja Cowan