Our Driving Force is an Engine Fueled by Enthusiasm
This is the week where we truly celebrate our beginnings 60 years ago and remember the spirit of voluntary service that still holds true today.
Not only was it International Volunteer Day on 5 December, but also on that very day 60 years ago, eight gentlemen met in the office of Bevan Rutt to form the then Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, South Australian branch. It was the result of a discussion the previous month at a meeting organised by the Apex Clubs of Adelaide and Unley at Frank Beauchamp’s home. Office bearers elected pro tem were Frank Beauchamp as President and Bevan Rutt as Secretary. They may have been elected pro tem (for the time being) but this proved to be a misnomer in that both gentlemen took on these roles to become our first volunteers but went on to be a part of the power house behind the success of Guide Dogs SA/NT over a considerable number of years.
Guide Dogs SA /NT has appreciated the dedication and hard work of volunteers as an integral part of the organisation. Indeed, the organisation would never have come in to being without those pioneers’ generous donation of their time, expertise and passion. There were no paid positions in those early days and so in essence everyone involved was a volunteer. So it’s wonderful that our primary day of celebration coincided this week with International Volunteer Day.
Our wonderful volunteers are indeed the engine room of Guide Dogs SA/NT. Today volunteers outnumber staff 4:1 which enables us to devote more funds to where it’s needed - vital services and training.
Volunteers touch us in many ways by providing a myriad of services such as admin, are the friendly voice at the end of many telephone calls, travel the state dropping off and maintaining our iconic collection dogs, community talks and fundraising at badge days and other events.
A very big thank you to everyone over the past 60 Years who have been part of our Guide Dogs family. You have made us the organisation we are today, constantly innovating and dedicated to changing the lives of people living with disability.