Navy gears up for Ocsober

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Todd Austin (author), LCDR Chloe Wootten (author), ABIS Chris Beerens (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, Western Australia

'Healthy Harold' joins HMAS Stirling personel in the first training session for OCSOBER at the Stirling sports field.  (photo: ABIS Chris Beerens)
'Healthy Harold' joins HMAS Stirling personel in the first training session for OCSOBER at the Stirling sports field.

Royal Australian Navy personnel are again preparing to 'lose the booze' this October to raise money for children's education programs encouraging healthy lifestyles.

Navy groups have participated in Life Education Australia's 'Ocsober' campaign for a number of years, but 2015 will be the fourth year of formal involvement, with personnel raising over $150, 000 in that time.

Those who rise to the challenge choose to abstain from drinking alcohol for a month and focus on positive health and lifestyle changes for long-lasting benefit.

Fleet Base West is holding its annual ‘spin-a-thon’ in September to get personnel motivated and kickstart fundraising for Western Australia-base Navy teams. 

The activity matches unit against unit in a 24 hour team spin bike event.  Last year's winner, Clearance Diving Team 4 beat 12 other teams, completing nearly 1000km and besting their nearest rivals. 

Already units are looking to form teams to take on the divers and deny them another sporting crown.  This year teams will also be recognised for the number of participants and their fundraising efforts.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, an Ocsober Ambassador, attended the first training session during a recent visit to HMAS Stirling and believes that the West is in good shape to raise much needed awareness about the fundraising initiative.

“Considering approximately 20 per cent of the Navy is based in WA, I’m sure that there will be a lot of activities conducted here in Stirling and I put out the challenge to other units and ships around the country to join in,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

“I can see that there might be a bit of friendly rivalry between East and West for who raises the most money for Ocsober; I think that’s great as it will mean that we as a Navy will further raise awareness and support this important initiative.”

Warrant Officer Communication and Information Systems Andrew Bertoncin, the Navy’s Western Australian Alcohol and Drugs Program Co-ordinator said that Ocsober has many benefits for participants.

“It provides funding back into the community to help Aussie kids make right choices as they mature and that is important because they are going to be our next generation of sailors and officers,” Warrant Officer Bertoncin said.

“Ocsober also lets participants understand the health benefits of having a month off the grog. 

"If you can combine this with a lifestyle change, both in diet and exercise, you will be amazed how much healthier you will feel in just that one month, and you might even save some money."

Ocsober is a fundraising initiative that encourages people to give up alcohol for the entire month of October and consider a change in their alcohol consumption to within national guidelines.  Money raised during Ocsober goes towards the Life Education initiative which provides education to empower Aussie kids to make safe and healthy life choices.   

Information on how to participate in Ocsober can be found at www.ocsober.com.au