Birdies to go over the edge for youth in crisis

Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Location(s): Circular Quay, Sydney

Topic(s): Sir David Martin Foundation, Team Navy, Fleet Air Arm

Abseil for Youth Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm (L-R) LCDR Roger Smyth, CMDR Cliff Kyle, CMDR Grant Oloughlan, CAPT Don Dezenjte, CMDR Charlie Stephenson, CDRE Vince Di Pietro, CMDR Michael Waddel, LCDR Natalee Johnson, CAPT Daniel Reilly and CAPT Malcolm Wright. (photo: LSIS Yuri Ramsey)
Abseil for Youth Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm (L-R) LCDR Roger Smyth, CMDR Cliff Kyle, CMDR Grant Oloughlan, CAPT Don Dezenjte, CMDR Charlie Stephenson, CDRE Vince Di Pietro, CMDR Michael Waddel, LCDR Natalee Johnson, CAPT Daniel Reilly and CAPT Malcolm Wright.

Navy aviators may be accustomed to soaring at great heights and their engineering team helps them to achieve that. But as this is usually done from the relative comfort of a helicopter cockpit or a hangar, the 10 Fleet Air Arm personnel from or attached to HMAS Albatross who are poised to step off the top of the 26 storey AMP Building later this month will also be stepping far outside their comfort zones.

Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm is participating in an ‘Abseil for Youth’ which provides participants with the combination of a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the opportunity to help raise funds for an incredible cause - the Sir David Martin Foundation and its work to help ‘youth in crisis’. Sir David served in the Royal Australian Navy for four decades, retiring as a Rear Admiral before being appointed as Governor of New South Wales.

Team leader, Commodore Vince Di Pietro has a personal connection to the Foundation as Sir David Martin was his wife Sandy’s father.

“I was privileged to be present in the room when Sir David Martin challenged us all “to create an environment where young people can grow up in safety with hope and with opportunity”.” CDRE Di Pietro said.

“To do this, he had set up the Sir David Martin Foundation only a few days before he left the office of Governor of New South Wales due ill health. Regrettably he died two days after leaving Government House. I was with him when he died and there’s rarely a day when I don’t remember him in some way. So I guess even though he never saw the Foundation beyond its start, this is one way where, with the help of our team, we can honour a really worthwhile cause and its founder.”

CDRE Di Pietro said it was surprisingly easy to rope in willing participants for the Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm.

“There was no shortage of enthusiasm to join in which is remarkable when you consider just how extreme the challenges involved are, but that is one of the aims of the event, if it's going to attract public attention and raise lots of much needed money for the Foundation to continue its good work then it has to be a huge challenge and goal. And Abseil for Youth certainly is that!”

“Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm is a terrific group of Navy people whose day job is to keep Navy helicopters flying. Like all members of the Navy, we are no strangers to service, to serve something bigger than self and to take ourselves out of our comfort zone to get the job done.

“Abseil for Youth is not charity: it is a chance to raise much needed money to help provide the skills and tools for those young people who for whatever reason need the help and guidance to help themselves. Here's an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and support something important, worthwhile and positive. It would be really good if we could top the fundraising effort...all sponsorship gratefully received and acknowledged. Fly Navy!”

AMP Abseil for Youth 2013 will be held over two days from Friday 18 October at the AMP Building in Circular Quay. Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm will be descending between 10:30am and 11am on Friday 18 October.

All of the funds raised will assist the Sir David Martin Foundation to turn young lives around. The Foundation supports the most disadvantaged youth who are often too hard or complex for simple support strategies. These young people are struggling with addictions, homelessness, mental health issues, abuse, depression and self-harm.

Donations to Team Navy - Fleet Air Arm can be made to the team as a whole or any individual in it by visiting the website. The team urls are http://ampabseilforyouth2013.gofundraise.com.au/page/teamNAVY and http://ampabseilforyouth2013.gofundraise.com.au/page/FAAVDP.