82% more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience and
85% more likely to overlook resume flaws when volunteer work is present.
As the Action4Agriculture team recognise two of our own volunteers ( Emily May and Danielle Fordham) by nominating them for the NSW Government Hidden Treasures Honor Role I am finding myself admiring some other organisations manned by volunteers that I have been working with
This post is a celebration of the work of Ryan McParland who comes from a long line of family volunteers with a shared passion for local agricultural shows.
Ryan played a founding role in his local show society’s ‘youth in ag’ group and is working to replicate and scale the Rural Ambassador model for the South Coast and Tablelands, all while working as a mechanical engineer at BlueScope Steel where he is a highly valued member of the team as this quote from his manager reinforces
Ryan is a gifted engineer who continually seeks improvement, not only in himself but in the people and the systems around him. As a genuine leader, he engenders a spirit of cooperation and engages those he works with, seldom taking the credit that is his due.
Ryan is well known to be a youth leader outside of our company, regularly involving us with him in charitable fund raising, promoting the shows and team building activities that lean heavily on his agricultural life experiences.
Ryan is a role model, who is genuine and is an asset to anyone fortunate to work with him.
Harry Murphy Manager Energy Services Asset Development, Digital, Services and Manufacturing Excellence
Ryan was a 2021 RAS of NSW Rural Achiever and his experience inspired him to kickstart a similar initiative at local shows in his region. Ryan recently invited me to judge the Albion Park Rural Ambassador program that he has been instrumental in founding, with the long term view of seeing it replicated at all NSW shows. These young people come from all walks of life, with a dedication to give back to the communities they are proud of.
I first met the Rural Ambassador finalists, Maddi Calloway, Shaylene Mawbey, Jayda Tisma and Ethan Forsyth a week before the show for their interviews. I was gob smacked. All came well prepared and answered the questions from their hearts with a raw authenticity we don’t see enough of in the 21st century.
Ryan then managed to entice WINNews ( and me to support them) to showcase the ambassadors
Then I got to spend a whole day at the show watching them and their extraordinary volunteer work ethic in action.
I certainly discovered just important volunteers are. Wow so much happens in 12 hours at an agricultural show.
These wonderful pictures from the Wollongong Camera Club share some of the joy and excitement
Its a a family affair with Ryan’s brother Glenn coordinates the animal nursey – bring his farmyard to the show
There are opportunities to milk a cow, real ones and faux ones
There are competitions
There is sideshow alley and face painting
and show food – chip on a stick. With potatoes in short supply I wasn’t overly surprised to see these sell for $10 each
and those stunt people that thrill the crowds and seem to have no fear. Did I hear correctly this truck cost $400K?
and it all seems to run like clockwork.
There are some important research facts around the value of volunteering for young people.
They bring fresh ideas, they adjust easily, they are naturally inquisitive, and are more likely to discover creative solutions.
Volunteering can have a positive impact on volunteers as well as the people and organisations they help.
- From building skills like collaboration and problem solving
- they get invaluable life experiences.
Volunteers must put their own needs aside to address the needs of others.
Exposure to meaningful volunteer opportunities as children and young people helps foster lasting empathy and a sense of belonging, qualities necessary in cultivating safe, unified communities.
After shadowing the Albion Park Show rural ambassadors for a week I am in awe of what it takes to draw a record crowd to an event and keep them entertained from 8am until 10pm. A reminder of how important it is that young people like Ethan Forsyth, Madi Calloway, Shay Mawbey and Jayda Tisma put their hands up to carry on the proud tradition of community volunteering that it takes to make it all happen
Congratulations to Madi Calloway who is the 2023 Albion Park Show Rural Ambassador – a truly tough decision. Mega shoutout to Ryan McParland doing an extraordinary job of bringing local youth together. 🙏 BlueScope and #WINTV for investing in NextGen #countryshows #community #youthinag #volunteering #action4agriculture
See the wonderful photos from the Wollongong Camera Club here