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Mandy, Me and This World Can

Whilst in a previous role in Local Government, I used Rec People services to address temporary workforce needs and spent countless hours on the phone chatting to Mandy before we formally met. People used to ask if we were sisters. Not only do we look alike and have the same mannerisms, we share the same passion for the community recreation sector.

Every time we connected it was an explosion of conversation, colour and ideas.

Establishing a Local Government Sport, Recreation and Leisure network was one such idea that until very recently was on the to do list. We weren’t sure how it would start or what it would look like but it was definitely going to be face to face, in a lovely location, with food (good food and maybe a cocktail), problems to solve, noise, laughter, next steps, more noise, laughter and movement, we had to move. And then came COVID-19.

From adversity comes all sorts of gifts. Not knowing how the impending crisis would affect Rec People and the demand for temporary staffing solutions, recruitment, mentoring and graduate programs, Mandy and I discussed the prospect of developing an online forum for LGA sport, rec and leisure staff.

Boom the Zoom based “This World Can” forum was born. Whilst it wasn’t how we envisaged the seeds to be planted and roots to form, it was what was needed for the time, and it was good enough. In fact, it turned out to be more than good enough, it turned out to be fantastic!

Over the last 10 weeks, during one and a half hour online sessions, This World Can forums have connected over 662 like-minded sport, recreation and leisure professionals in Local Government, NSOs, SSAs and peak bodies from all over Australia. The forums have included guest speakers such as Andrew Day – CEO of Manningham City Council and Dr Bridie O’Donnell – Director, Office for Women and Sport in Recreation, just to name a few.

The format of This World Can is also unique in that it is not a webinar but rather an interactive team meeting whereby people elect a breakout room to join to participate in in-depth industry specific conversations. These breakout rooms include: Aquatics and Leisure, Strategic Recreation Planning, Leadership, Health and Participation and Sports Club Development

Through the forum, we are learning about the impending challenges, solutions to problems, who could help who, what else might be needed, how we could assist and the need to connect during this period of COVID-19 uncertainty and beyond.

Is This World Can just a short term solution to deal with a temporary need or could this be the start of the network we always wanted? Time will tell but at the moment it is important. It is the connector, the problem solver and the inspirer.

This World Can is our contribution to our sport, rec and leisure sector. It is a labour of love, entirely free to register and attend. It could not have happened without the help of our facilitators, many of whom work for LGAs and also donated their time to make the project work.

We hope This World Can is the first step to establishing a regular networking forum for the LG sector but for now let’s see where it takes us.

For more information on This World Can Online forums contact mandy@recpeople.com.au

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