Toni Stevens is kicking-off Intrepid in Geelong with a Leadership Retreat this September.
Here is a low-down on her experience making the retreat happen (thus far), and in time, making Geelong Intrepid Landcare a reality. Toni wanted to share her experiences—the good and bad—when it came to establishing an Intrepid tribe in her community, in the hope it will help others who are planning to do the same.
Want to know more?
Have a look at the Getting Intrepid in your Community Checklist
Or post your questions via the Intrepid Landcare Tribe Facebook Group – it’s a closed group and designed to be a safe space to share experiences and seek advice.
Why did you want to bring Intrepid Landcare to your community?
When I first volunteered with Intrepid, I knew I’d found my tribe. I no longer had to choose between spending my weekends volunteering or having a social life, I could do them both together! When I moved to Victoria in 2012 I missed Intrepid so much that I resolved to working towards setting a group up here.
How did you get started, what were your first steps?
For me it’s been a long process, because I was new to Victoria and I had no local connections to get me started or mentor me. It has taken me years to get to know my local Landcare community, to work out who the key influencers were, and who was going to be supportive of what I was aiming for. And as I was working full-time I had to schedule meetings in around that. It’s been a balancing act, and I’ve learned not to be impatient about it all happening today or tomorrow!
What was the biggest challenge or barrier you faced?
My biggest challenge was being asked lots of questions I couldn’t answer, from “Whose insurance do you work under?” to “What makes you think young people want to do this stuff?” You won’t be alone in facing these questions. So feel free to ask Intrepid, via phone or email or post on the Tribe group page. If you have a question, chances are someone else does too, so you are doing others a favour by asking! We are a tribe!
Who in your community was the most help?
There is no way I’d be where I am today with getting Intrepid happening in Geelong if it was not for Tracey McRae, the who was the Landcare Coordinator in our local Catchment Management Authority, and Elissa Ashton Smith, who is the Facilitator for the Geelong Landcare Network. We meet regularly, and they’ve helped me with everything from meetings with the right people, to supporting applications for funding. I don’t work in Landcare day-to-day so their insights into how the machine works have been invaluable.
What did you do when you needed help?
I’ve learned that when I need help, I need to ask! I probably asked Megan and Naomi way too many questions, and now I am part of the Tribe group page, I’ll probably be putting a few more questions to them as well – tapping into the wisdom of this amazing group of people. Also, now that I know my local leaders I ask them a lot too. The trick is finding the right people to ask questions. Sometimes you don’t know what questions to ask until you have started, and Intrepid can help you connect with the right people to help you out.
What self-care tips can you offer to ensure you are looking after yourself first, before the planet?
I’ve learned to have more realistic expectations. Firstly, about how long it might take to get things rolling, and second about how much help I need from others (it’s more than you think). For me self-care is all about time in nature, so Intrepid is part of the solution! But letting go of expectations and allowing things to happen organically would be my biggest tip. Things might not happen today or tomorrow, but they will happen (to mis-quote a bad 90s TV commercial).
Tell us about your first event?
We were successful in seeking funding from the Victorian Landcare Program through the Corangamite CMA to support a Leadership Retreat.
We’ll be running the retreat, with the Geelong Landcare Network, over the weekend of 14-16 September. I’m super excited and looking forward to meeting some new, like-minded people from around Geelong, the Surf Coast and the Otways. Watch this space.