My name is Sarah Williams. I started with Oxfam Australia as a volunteer in 1997 and was integral in getting Trailwalker started.
Whilst traveling in India, I had an epiphany that I wanted to work in the humanitarian sector. I contacted Community Aid Abroad and as soon as I started, it felt like home. At the deepest level of my being, it was a game changer for me.
Volunteers are skill matched to projects. I was asked to do a feasibility study on this event that was successful in Hong Kong and the organizers were looking to bring it out to Australia but had to decide which charity to partner with. It was called Trailwalker.
The steering group was the key to getting Trailwalker off the ground. Everyone was very committed and well connected. We had Bryce Courtney record a promotional video and as it was the days before viral marketing, we had loads of videos made up and distributed.
It wasn’t so much our knowledge and expertise that made the event successful; it was getting the right people to help us. We had members of the army who really put themselves out supplying tents and coordinating check points.
In the early days we’d be running on no sleep but we’d all be at the finish line, cheering loudly as the teams crossed the finish line. The biggest lesson I learnt along the way was the power of working together as a team. You are only as strong as your weakest link. We would band together to support and help each other when someone needed it. Trailwalker wouldn’t be the success that it is without strong team support.