Recently, 160 Officer Cadets and Midshipmen from Delta Squadron, Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) dispersed to six different locations to carry out a day of volunteering in the local community.
Lieutenant Commander Mhanda van Engelen, Officer Commanding Delta Squadron said the initiative is something she is passionate about.
“Wednesday the 6th of August was designated as a ‘no teaching’ day at ADFA. Delta Squadron used this day to work as a team, outside of the Academy, to enhance their own personal development and benefit the community in an extremely positive way,” Lieutenant Commander van Engelen said.
Split into tri-service groups, the squadron volunteered at Gowrie Primary School and Black Mountain School - helping tidy up their grounds, paint walls/handball courts, listen to students read and also worked on maintenance of the kennel areas and surrounds at RSPCA; assisted in the revegetation of 300 hectares of bush heritage reserve near Bredbo, NSW; worked in the warehouse at St Vincent’s de Paul; and spent time with the residents at the RSL Life Care.
Midshipman John Wilbraham spent the day at the RSPCA and said the highlight for him was seeing the difference his group had made in such a short time.
“It’s wonderful to be able to help the community in a way that’s not the norm for our chosen careers. I can’t believe how much we got done in one day. Hopefully we have helped the staff at the RSPCA continue to give these animals a second chance,” Midshipman Wilbraham said.
Gowrie Primary School is a mix of special needs students integrated with regular students. Kindergarten student, Liam, said it was a great day as their school was tidied up by the Defence Force, which was really exciting.
“It was the best day ever. I got to read to Midshipman Lock and it was so cool to learn about what she was going to do in the Navy,” Liam said.
This is the fourth year Delta Squadron has conducted volunteer work in the community. Lieutenant Commander van Engelen hopes to continue the tradition into the future.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142311.