2011 Convention report

I was asked to write the Convention report, but I must confess, I really don‟t know where to start. I will start by saying “What an absolutely wonderful week! Certainly one I will never forget!”

Arrival Day! Friday 30 September:
“Pick up‟s and drop off‟s grab a bite to eat, get your linen & your room key, stop, take a breath, it‟s time for the meet and greet! Ahhhh relax, and enjoy the evening with long lost mates, and new found friends!” I think that sums up the first day of the Convention for me! Once the majority had arrived, we relaxed and played a few „getting to know you‟ games. Families, new and old stood up and told us where they were from, and why they were attending the Convention. This was a great way to get to know everyone! Then the kids stood up, and introduced themselves and their families. It was overwhelming to see just how many confident young men and women we have within the SSPA.

Day 2! Saturday 1 October:
“Breakfast, oh yes please, hang on… okay, we have the surf school today, and more people arriving…. Off to the beach!” We headed down to the beach at Alexandra Headland, to be greeted by the wonderful people at the „XL Surf Academy‟. We had a massive group of participants, and I‟m pretty sure some of the late comers were encouraged by the very friendly surf instructors! I must confess, standing on the beach this morning watching our group thoroughly enjoying themselves, be it in the water, or on the beach, brought tears to my eyes. The morning was very draining, and our beach games didn‟t eventuate; however I am pretty sure most were content to chill around the site, with the games room, swimming pool and the beautiful grounds. Not to mention the AFL Grand Final was on! „Toga‟ Disco followed after dinner, and what a turn out! There were toga Gods and Goddesses every which way you looked!

Day 3! Sunday 2 October:
“Australia Zoo…. Okay, need to make sure we don‟t leave anyone behind! Oh my goodness, how to keep track of sooo many people! Oh well, here we go!” We have arrived! We scored a group photo out the front of the Zoo, and what an awesome shot it is! Thank you to all of you for your patience. We all went our separate ways, and looked at the attractions that appealed to us the most. I must say that my personal favourite was the Crocseum show! I could not have enjoyed it more! Although the walk to the stadium also had its adventures, with the elephants putting on a show, all because of a little red wagon! Apparently they don‟t like the little red wagons! Our day ended with the NRL Grand Final, followed by the Talent Night & Fashion Parade. This night would have to be the night of the „All Stars!‟ I think we could start a show… SSPA‟s Got Talent & Fashion! A big thank you to all those that participated and all those who cheered our participants on!

Day 4! Monday 3 October:
“Medical presentations & workshops today, I hope it all runs smoothly! Then we can go see the sharks!” Firstly a big thank you to Dr Andreas Zankl for arranging for all of the Queensland medical team to attend. I know this morning can be overwhelming; however I believe it was a very informative morning, especially the importance of „Sleep‟. I‟m pretty sure that a few of us will be using the importance of sleep in our lives for a long time to come! The workshops were conducted around the grounds in the afternoon, and a big thank you to all those that attended and ran the workshops. Underwater world was next on our Itinerary, and I was not actually aware we would have the entire venue to ourselves for the evening twilight viewing! I was most impressed, as you were that we could walk around and not have to worry about losing anyone! We were all locked in! The seal show and shark feeding would have to have been the highlights for me, but the entire evening was wonderful. The staff was magnificent, very knowledgeable and not to mention very easy going. It was a lovely end to the day.

Day 5! Tuesday 4th October:
“Oh my, I think I need a sleep! Lol, free time today, and Life Be In It! Then…the long awaited Dinner Dance! Let‟s go!” The Life Be In It morning was a wonderful agenda with numerous multicultural games planned. I was very pleased with the variety of the games and the instructor‟s willingness to adapt to what we wanted to do. For those that were there, a great time was had by all. I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the different games on offer. Time to „Chillax‟ before the Dinner Dance…. The under 13‟s enjoyed some Very delish pizza I believe, well if what Matt & Jorja tell me is true! They had a great time doing crafts, and watching movies. As for us 13+ people, we all attended the „Dinner Dance‟, the formal part of the Convention. The McHugh Henderson Award, and numerous other presentations, to be given out! This year Margherita Coppolino was the worthy recipient of the McHugh Henderson award, even though, Margherita was entirely unaware and I believe overwhelmed with receiving the award. Then it was time to dance the night away! That was exactly what we did! Well some of you!

Day 6! Wednesday 5th October:
“Oh man, my feet hurt!!! Real bad! Okay, wake up Sandra, it‟s the AGM today, followed by NC Meeting and then Show and Share! ” The AGM kicked off with a bang! Okay, well not really, but it commenced! It was good to see some new faces in attendance and eager to assist in many different ways. The newly elected National Council was then to have the first National Council meeting for the 2011/2012 year. I believe those not involved with NC chose to go shopping/bowling/beaching or just relaxing. The evening was a show and share. We viewed the DVD “Walking Tall.” This is a movie from the 80‟s where numerous members of the SSPA were starred! It was wonderful to see how members have grown over the years. I think the movie was enjoyed by all.

Photo‟s were next, with current, ancient, and all in between viewed on the big screen. A big thank you to all who donated their pictures for everyone to view!

Day 7! Thursday 6th October:
“You mean that‟s it??? It‟s finished for another year…. Okay, I‟m going to hold back the tears….. ” Well, Today, saw everyone who hadn‟t already departed for yet another year. I‟m pretty sure this is the worst part of every Convention; however we have 2012 to look forward to, start counting the days!

I hope you all enjoyed the Convention, and/or reading about it! I must thank some people as without them, the wonderful experience of the 2011 convention would not have been the same! Firstly the SSPA states from around Australia, who donated funds towards the fundraising and also your friendship and support during the planning stages… VIC, WA, NSW, QLD! You all Rock! North Queensland… We are such a small group up here in the North, we have all come a very long way, and all of our fundraising paid off in a marvellous convention. Thank you to you all!

To everyone that attended this year‟s Convention, thank you for coming along and sharing what I feel was a very successful week. I can‟t wait to see you all again next year.

PS – I‟m counting down already! :-D

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