“An absolute hoot” is how Regional Navy Community Engagement Program Coordinator, Chief Petty Officer Linda Eddington described the Shoalhaven Women’s Wellness Expo on 15 March.
“The level of engagement of everyone attending made for a successful day and the women I spoke to were very interested and enthusiastic about the Navy presence in the area which was really affirming,” CPO Eddington said.
The annual event aims to raise awareness of the various health issues relating to women in the local community and is run in conjunction with the Shoalhaven’s International Women’s Day activities.
The 2014 Expo featured a range of stallholders which included community groups, retail and health providers and the Royal Australian Navy. Visitors were able to experience the thrills and challenges involved in flying a Navy helicopter in one of the Navy Flight Emulators and HMAS Albatross personnel were on hand to discuss the diverse and exciting range of career opportunities available to women in the Navy.
CPO Eddington said the most important aspect of the Festival was its inclusiveness.
“The Expo brought women together from all walks to celebrate women’s achievements,“ she said.
The Navy flight emulators were a very popular component of the program and Trainee Pilot, Midshipman Lara Carr, guided participants through the basics of flight.
“The emulators were a big hit with both young and old,” MIDN Carr said.
“They sparked a bit of healthy competition between friends as to who could fly under the Sydney harbour bridge and many of the Nowra locals seemed to appreciate a different perspective of what actually goes on inside the Navy helicopters which regularly fly overhead.”
MIDN Carr said many women found the experience both challenging and rewarding.
“Some ladies who came through started very hesitant about whether they would be able to fly the emulator and were very happy when they could do it. It's great when people surprise themselves with what they are capable of doing,” she said.
CPO Eddington said that by participating in events such as the Women’s Expo, the Navy Community Engagement Program team were able to support and promote the intent of New Generation Navy.
“Navy is a diverse, inclusive and flexible workforce and we want to promote this message to women not only in the Shoalhaven, but to the wider Australian community,” she said.