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Who’s Who in the Zoo David Paynter – Event & Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteer Bi-monthly Newsletter

Volume 2 - Mar/Apr 2013

faces from exhilaration to exhaustion. Being our first year running the Grunt we have most certainly learnt a lot and can’t wait to deliver a bigger and better event next time. The KCA team would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the wonderful people who supported and competed in the inaugural Kokoda Grunt event on March 16 at Lake Maroon! It was truly a great event, complete with a very tough course, obstacles to test the best, and mud, mud, mud! With over 3100 competitors, the event raised approximately $320,000 in registrations. Teams also “dug deep” and voluntarily raised an extra $13,376 on top of their registration fees, with all funds raised from our events going towards our Youth Programs. Those of you who were out at Lake Maroon experienced firsthand the heat, the incredible atmosphere and the looks on the Grunt finishers’

What’s Next

The Brisbane Kokoda Challenge is next on the calendar, being held on Sunday, June 2. The KCA team is now focusing our efforts on this 30km event in the D'Aguilar State Forest.

Thank you to our incredible volunteers for all your hard work and efforts pre, during and post the event. There were many tireless hours worked out at the property, building and preparing those obstacles and not to mention clearing it all away ready for school camps the next week. As with all our Kokoda Challenge events, your dedication and commitment are greatly valued and appreciated. Without your support we would not be able to deliver such a successful Kokoda Grunt event. It was great to see our past and present ‘Kokoda Kids’ and Leaders out volunteering on the obstacles and encouraging Grunt participants on the day. Even though it was hard work out at the property, it was a lot of fun and a great sense of achievement for all involved.

Please see link to our website for further information:-Brisbane Kokoda Challenge Event Details - The Kokoda Challenge The Brisbane Kokoda Challenge starts at 7am from Brookfield Showgrounds and has a 9 hour time limit. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event, please contact David at the KCA office. It would be great to have some assistance with the pack down and clean up in the late afternoon.

2013 Key Dates Sunday May 5 Launch KCYP 2013 First training day Sunday June 2 Brisbane Kokoda Challenge Sat/Sun July 13 & 14 Kokoda Challenge GC Hinterland Saturday July 13

Kokoda Challenge Junior Games—Nerang

Thank you to Lynley & Carissa for your contribution to this edition.

To submit your Volunteer news & favourite photos for future editions please email Please note: VNews is being prepared in both email and hardcopy formats. If you would like to be added to our databases to receive the newsletter personally, or change the format you receive it in, please or complete the Volunteer Application Form online at volunteer-application KCA Office: 07 5539 4141

To keep in touch with more news see our website or Facebook Front page images - Kokoda Grunt

Who’s Who in the Zoo David Paynter – Event & Volunteer Coordinator

Each edition we will introduce you to one of the members of the KCA team, this time it is our newly appointed Events & Volunteer Coordinator, David Paynter. David started with the KCA in late February, just in time to take on the Kokoda Grunt event management. Q: How did you get involved with the KCA? Doug wandered into Sporty’s Warehouse in 2005 where I was working and started to tell me about this idea he had for a team bushwalking event. As all of us know it is never a short conversation when Doug starts talking but by the end he had me sold and I was offering my time to volunteer and became the

first sponsor of the inaugural event. I enjoyed myself so much I came back the next year and have been involved with the KCA ever since. In 2009 I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be a leader with the Gold Coast KCYP and to learn firsthand how life-changing and effective our youth program is to those involved – myself included. We had an amazing journey through our months of training, walking the Kokoda Challenge and then our peak experience of walking the Kokoda track in PNG. A truly rewarding experience that I would recommend to anyone. I am now excited to take up the full time roll of Event and Volunteer Coordinator and to work closely with all our valuable volunteers. Having volunteered with the KCA for many years I understand what an integral role our Kokoda Family plays in making this Association the strength that it is. Q: Life outside KCA? I love spending as

much time outdoors as possible. This includes mountain biking, kayaking, bushwalking and the odd off road triathlon and adventure race thrown in to the mix. I also have a 13 year old daughter who seems very good at getting my wallet and I to take her shopping. Q: What inspires me? I am inspired by people who genuinely give their best at their chosen endeavour. They don’t have to be a champion, I am often more impressed by people who have the odds stacked against them and who rise above adversity and achieve success which then challenges me to do the same.

David centre, with hose at Kokoda Grunt mud crawl

National Youth Week

VALE - Tony Lynch We recently lost one of our long-time supporters. Tony was a great inspiration to all of us and he will be sadly missed. RIP

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The KCA was excited to be part of the National Youth Week event held at Pizzey Park in April, contributing by holding an obstacle run. It was amazing to see young people so enthusiastic to get involved and give the course a go. The smiles and sense of achievement from those who participated was fantastic and to witness the proud parents on the sideline topped it off. Thanks to the great team of volunteers who enjoyed the day working with the KCA team. It was awesome to see so many past Kokoda Kids come along to volunteer with running the event, full of energy and encouraging the “young obstacle racers”. A great day was had by all. Check out Facebook for more photos or video link

KK what’s news today? Interview with 2007 KCYP Graduate – Carissa Staff What originally made you interested in the KCYP? It was 2007, and I was only 15 when I first met Doug, I had dropped out of high school and was involved in a government program to get kids back into either school or a job. Doug came and did a talk about the Kokoda Youth Program, and I knew it was what I needed. I needed something that wasn’t school or a job, to set my mind on and work towards! The training each week, and working towards the reward at the end, the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea. What are you up to now? I am currently in my last year of my University degree studying a bachelor of visual arts at Southern Cross University Lismore. I am also fresh home from 7 months of travelling; I did a semester of my degree in California United States and travelled down through South America. Now living in my favourite place, Lennox Heads New South Whales Surfing and arting about! Can you tell us the main thing you got out of the program? Kokoda has given me strength, in all areas of my being, mentally, physically and emotionally. It put me in my place in the world at a very early age and taught me great life skills to go out into the world with. I didn’t realise the extent of my achievements

until recently, I think because I am growing as a young lady, and look back at myself as a young girl, and I am proud! Kokoda is a beautiful memory for me to draw upon at different stages I come to in my life, and know that I’ll get through. Funniest time? I would have to say, the moments of being in the middle of the jungle in Papua New Guinea, covered in mud, sweat, drenched from the rain, hungry and utterly exhausted, being with all of my beautiful fellow Kokoda Kids, just laughing, falling over one another and just running a-muck with one another, and being so joyful for being exactly where I was, not needing anything else but what I had. That was the best. Toughest task? I had never travelled out of Australia before, so when I arrived in Papua New Guinea I had major culture shock. I found it hard to see the poverty. These beautiful people living lives of poverty, and not being able to have the same opportunities we have here in Australia. It upset me, but it taught me great appreciation for what I have, to this day I will never forget it. Best memory? Winning the Kokoda Kid of the year. I was not expecting it, I was in shock! It gave me a lot of happiness, because it showed me that Doug

On the Plane! 2007

Me! Carissa 2013!

and my leaders had watched me grow and it showed me that the decisions and choices I had been making in my life were the right ones. What is your favourite thing you do? Oh I LOVE to surf, and with surfing comes my lifestyle, eating healthy food!, being able to spend a few hours each day in the ocean grounds me and fills me with joy and appreciation for everything in my life, what a blessed life! Favourite movie? I must say, at the moment “The Croods”! I only just saw it, it’s a pixar animation film, but my gosh I loved it! I was laughing more than the kids, I recommend you see it! Haha! Favourite music? I enjoy all types of music, but there’s nothing I love more than a beautiful voice and the strum of an acoustic guitar. If you could meet one person, who would it be? and why? I would love to meet Beyoncé Knowles. She is a great example to me. She has had a life of fame, but hasn’t let herself go, she still holds strong to herself and her family, and is an incredibly grounded beautiful person.

Melbourne KCYP The Melbourne KCYP branch held its graduation evening on 27 th April at the Box Hill RSL. Doug joined the very proud Leaders for the special night, presenting “dog tags” and certificates to 10 successful participants of the 2012 program. We were honoured to have special guests in attendance from the 39th Battalion. See more details on the Melbourne KCYP branch in the next issue.

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Volunteer Viewpoint Interview with KCA Volunteer Group Leader – Lynley Mangin How long have you been a volunteer with KCA? Since 2008 In what capacity? In 2008, as a volunteer during the Challenge weekend; since 2009 as a leader with the Youth Program. How did you become involved? The first year I competed in the Challenge (2006), my team melted away after attempting the mini Kokoda. Doug put together a replacement team for me (filled it with marathon runners – thanks Doug!) and during that process, we got talking. I liked what he was setting out to achieve and was keen to get involved in any way I could. Can you believe how far the KCA has come from its inception? I can – because I know how hard everyone involved has worked to make it happen – and you don’t see that level of effort and determination without great results. What would be your most memorable KCA time? There are so many. But every time I finish the Challenge with kids who are in pain, exhausted, half (sometimes completely!) asleep, but still encouraging each other and other competitors to just keep going, I’m reminded of just how tough and inspirational this generation of kids is. It’s what keeps me coming back. What would be your most “Challenging” KCA time? Leaving kids behind at checkpoints when they have to withdraw from the Challenge, knowing how devastated they are at not being able to finish. Followed closely by

Lynley – 2nd from right, with her Kokoda Grunt team

the long haul into Eora Creek in relentless rain and mud whilst walking the Track in 2011. Have you done The Kokoda Challenge? I have If yes, how many times? 6 times. This year I’m lining up for my 7th start. Why did you originally do the Challenge? It seemed like a good idea at the time…. Then it just got addictive. Have you walked the Kokoda Track? Yes – 4 times. If yes, what has been your most memorable experience on the Kokoda Track? Sharing the journey with the kids – the laughs, the tears, the singing, the falls, and the sense of achievement that comes when they reach a seemingly unreachable goal. Oh and discovering that fried spam tastes exactly like steak –in the right circumstances (ie 2 or 3 days into the trek, at the end of a long morning’s walk…) What do you love most about the KCA? Being part of an organisation that supports kids to achieve their best – and seeing the changes in the kids by the end of their 16 month journey. Also meeting some fantastic leaders who have become friends.

Running, swimming (I started learning to swim last year and it’s very much a work in progress) and I’ve just taken up cycling. Favourite food? Lamb (the only thing standing between me and being vegetarian) What is your signature dish to cook? Cook? That’s what restaurants are for, isn’t it? Favourite movie? No favourite movie but I am a bit of a Doctor Who fan. If you were young again, “who would you like to be when you grow up”? ;-) Probably make the same series of decisions and end up being me again – but maybe a me who started running and swimming a little sooner. Or an astronaut.

Favourite Photo Photo is of Hoi. It’s a beautiful spot and about an hour’s flat walk from Kokoda. The butterflies are amazing. We always stop here for lunch and a swim in the creek (chance to clean up!) and a trip to PNG just wouldn’t be complete without it.

Did you do Kokoda Grunt? I did the long course this year with an incredible group of friends – might have skipped a couple of obstacles but they’ll be there next year, right?! What else fills your personal time in your life? Spending time with friends.

To keep in touch with more news see our website or Facebook

Kokoda V-News Vol 2  

The new bi-monthly Kokoda Challenge Association (KCA) Volunteer Newsletter to help keep you in touch with news from the KCA and your adventu...

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