News: Breaking bread and sowing new seed

Victorian returnees share lunch in Melbourne
Travelling around the country for Information Sessions in March and April gave staff an opportunity to meet returned volunteers over a meal: a couple in Brisbane, 10 in each of Adelaide and Perth and around 20 in Melbourne.  Christine, Brendan and I have all since discussed the feeling of a gentle yet powerful spirit and great support for Palms’ ongoing work that comes from being in the company of returned volunteers.

Stories shared at the Jubilee Launch at the January Orientation Course also assisted staff to re-value how a Palms placement helps us all to grow.   Sitting, observing and listening on these occasions gives pause again to appreciate how the giver reaps rewards.  Acceptance of the other, which I believe we refine during a placement, encourages a simple yet fulfilling life after placement.

Round Table on Volunteering

At the end of the Orientation Course at Pennant Hills on Sunday July 10 we will again stimulate some valuable thought and share a meal together.  This time we will look forward, to consider Palms’ potential in its Mission of International Development as we begin the next 50 years.  Three short papers will deliver a challenge and hopefully stimulate questions and responses from us all.

A Jubilee event to consider Palms’ future will value all ideas and thoughts, so please mark it on your calendar now, and complete and return the enclosed form to register your attendance.  Our discussions will begin at 11 am following the commissioning of another 20 – 25 volunteers at 10 am.  We will eat lunch together at 12:30.

Golden Jubilee Dinner and AGM

Please also remember the Jubilee Dinner on October 22nd.  A returnee has suggested we might reserve tables for particular eras of volunteers.  A great idea! So if you want to be placed on a table of ten related to the period in which you departed please indicate it when booking.  Do this by July 31st and the ticket price will be at the table-booking rate of $50 instead of the individual rate of $55.

The era tables will be arranged by date of departure to your placement.  So, if you departed from 1962-69 you can be put on the 60’s table.  If you departed 1970-79 you can be seated on the 70’s table.  There will also be an 80’s, 90’s and 00’s table.

Of course you could always organise a table with those who departed from your Orientation Course.  I would love to be sitting with at least 9 of the 30 from my 1993 course.  If you are interested in such a table let me know and I will make contact with others from your course and tell them you want to hear from them.

We will, of course, do tables for any other groups.  It is a great opportunity to introduce your workplace, friends and family to Palms.  We also hope that organisations in Palms network will each take a table.  If you are just planning to come with a group of friends and family you only need to make a booking for the number coming and you will be seated together.

Breaking bread and reflecting together in January and at the returnee gatherings in each of the states has helped us to collectively examine our growth as people and as an organisation.  While breaking bread on July 10th, we will consider Palms’ future and on October 22nd, befitting of a Jubilee year, we will break even more bread to celebrate both our past and our future.  I hope you look forward, as I do, to the growth we continue to bring one another as we share our food and thoughts.

Roger O’Halloran

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Don't listen to the World Bank. Listen to the people on the ground. They have all the solutions in the world. - Bunker Roy