Young Veterans Committee members’ new year’s resolutions
RSL NSW has recently established a Young Veterans Committee (YVC), which will advise the Board on matters impacting young veterans and their families, and help address their declining membership and involvement.
The inaugural Young Veterans Committee meeting took place in December, coinciding with the RSL NSW State Congress and the AGM.
“It was a great opportunity for the newly appointed committee, who hail from all over regional and metropolitan NSW, to meet face-to-face and set out our short- and long-term objectives to support RSL NSW in its aim of attracting more younger veterans,” says Sarah Watson, Interim Chair. “The Committee has agreed that our priority is to ensure the voices of younger veterans (50 and under) are heard and acted upon.”
Here, some of the new Committee members share their new year’s resolutions for 2022.
Sarah Watson, Interim Chair
I’m looking forward to becoming an accredited Triathlon and Club coach in January, to finishing my Level 1 DVA Advocate training, and to visiting the other RSL sub-Branches in the Riverina to spread the word about the new Committee.
In February I will have a one-on-one session with the Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide. As someone who has lost a number of ex-serving Army friends to suicide and grappled with the ‘black dog’ myself, this issue is close to my heart, and to share my story and give a voice to my lost mates will help in the healing process.
And finally, I hope to take my sons on a holiday to tropical North Queensland in the second half of 2022 as I am racing in the Cairns Ironman. While I race, they can snorkel! And then we can eat kilos of prawns followed by buckets of ice-cream.
Kane Hall, Nominated Committee member
I will engage more with the younger veteran community to bring their voices to the RSL in NSW. I hope to help make the RSL a place that younger veterans want to join, and participate in, so that we can continue to support veterans for another 100 years.
On a personal note, I hope to take my honeymoon in Tasmania with my gorgeous wife – we married during lockdown.
Bronte Pollard, Interim Deputy Chair
For 2022, as I do every year, I’ll pledge to lose weight and get fit – hoping by having this published it’ll make me accountable. I’m also hopeful that life in 2022 will find a consistency. The unpredictability of the past two years has been tough for all, so 12 months of living with the new COVID norm will be great.
Finally I’m incredibly optimistic that the tide is turning for RSL NSW and our veteran community. Many factors have contributed to the past couple years being really tough, and now it’s time to get on with supporting those veterans and their families in need.
Mick Birtles, Interim Committee Member
In 2022 I would really like to be able to travel in Australia with my wife. Our plan is to take a motor home along the Great Ocean Road and to see Uluru, Darwin, Broome and Albany in WA. And we will finally get to see family in Perth, Brisbane and Townsville.
Also, in conjunction with my fellow YVC members I would like to be able to shape some positive changes to the general perception of the RSL, and begin to attract a new generation of veterans and their families to join the League.
Stephen Rana, Interim Committee Member
My hope for the new year is to finish my Masters of Business at UNSW. Professionally, I am hoping for another rewarding year in the last year of my posting to a training establishment.
I’m aiming to continue sharing the key messages of RSL NSW’s Strategic Plan and the importance of current serving members joining sub-Branches. I am also eager to continue to work with the Young Veterans Committee by providing relevant and timely advice to the board on how to make RSL membership more appealing for younger veterans.
Berdene Oxley-Boyd, Nominated Committee Member
I am hoping to increase the awareness of veterans young and old about the services provided by RSL NSW and its partners, RSL LifeCare and RSL DefenceCare in rural and remote communities of NSW.
I’d also like to increase awareness that the term ‘veterans’ applies to all members of the ADF regardless of whether they’ve served overseas, and help instigate more social interaction through coffee catch-ups and family-friendly events.
Finally, I’m especially eager to improve services to veterans communities in rural and remote areas across health, mental wellbeing, housing and employment.
Colin Pickstone, Nominated Committee Member
My goal for 2022 is to support all veterans and their families through collaboration with ex-service organisations (ESOs) around NSW. This will require connecting veterans and their families to mental health services, transition support, sport, recreation, and other fun and engaging activities and programs for all ages and abilities.
Amanda Curby, Nominated Secretariat
The new year brings a welcome sense of optimism that gives the YVC fresh energy as we prepare to achieve big things in 2022. I look forward to bringing my experiences as a Navy spouse to the table as well as sharing the conversations I hear from the wider defence community as part of my role as a Defence Community Relationship Officer. I also look forward to the borders reopening to WA so we can see family after more than two years apart.
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