Picture 100 young, passionate leaders, meeting for four days of capacity building, training, strategy and getting even more excited about Oaktree's vision for 2015 - one where our movement is strengthened, deepens and grows.
That only begins to describe this year's National Conference (or NC, as it's affectionately known around the office).
This year, all of Oaktree's core volunteers (committing 10+ hours per week) came together in the beautiful Victorian town of Beechworth to share ideas, think big, and build community as we start implementing our plans for the year.
This was my first NC, and I came away with well informed optimism about what Oaktree is looking to achieve this year, and the health, passion, excitement and skill level of the incredible volunteers that will lead us there. I was also struck by the depth of our movement, and we were privileged to have number of Oaktree alumni share some very valuable skills and lessens they acquired during, and post Oaktree life. As they say, you can check out at Oaktree, but never quite leave! We are very grateful for the ongoing support of our alumni and they have a huge amount to contribute to the movement, as was evidenced at NC.
I have also just returned from a trip to Canberra, where I was lobbying some of our politicians on the issue of foreign aid. The Australian Council For International Development (ACFID) is the industry body for Development Agencies, and coordinating the lobbying. It was a terrific opportunity to work with the leaders of some of Australia's largest development agencies (Oxfam, World Vision, CARE, PLAN Aus) in putting the case for effective foreign aid to our country’s decisions makers.
It was clear that Oaktree has a powerful voice representing young people and our vision for Australia's future; one where our government reflects its people as a generous nation. It was also encouraging to see the number of parliamentarians who had knowledge of and a deep appreciation for our work.
Over the next month, we will be launching Live Below the Line. I would like to extend my invitation to you, to sign up and participate in the campaign - living below the line so that others can rise above it.
Thank you for your support.