Creating interest in young and old alike

On a cold, dreary winter’s night, some 40 brave Ocean Grove locals gathered at the Piping Hot Chicken Shop for a movie night with a difference.

The movie screened was called ‘Message in the Waves’, an inspirational and beautiful film set in Hawaii, which covers various coastal issues including litter, species protection and population growth.

The event’s young organisers hoped its messages would motivate viewers to sign up for a new Coast Action/Coastcare group in Ocean Grove, which was sorely needed. Despite the township boasting an untapped source of volunteers young and old, such a group did not then exist.

The Piping Hot Chicken Shop proved the perfect venue with its amiable atmosphere and quirky décor – featuring walls plastered with music posters, ceiling dripping with all kinds of memorabilia and fascinating knick-knacks throughout – not to mention its great food and coffee.

Following the screening, 35 people registered their interest in joining the new group, which was a fantastic outcome. The involvement of younger generations – as well as those not so young – was particularly exciting, especially since Ocean Grove had never had a group like this before.

In all, the event provided a catalyst for encouraging and motivating the local community to start caring about coastal issues and to develop a sense of ownership and responsibility for the coast, rather than relying on often under-resourced land managers. It was also a fun way to spend a cold, miserable winter’s evening.

The movie night highlighted:

  • the importance of enlisting new volunteers to maintain momentum and ensure a diverse and dynamic group
  • the need to delegate responsibility and give new members distinct roles to perform to really get things done
  • the value of setting achievable goals and then achieving them to keep spirits high and maintain the group’s momentum, and
  • the need to identify appropriate ways to attract people into the group, which can be as simple as providing a cup of tea.

Story provided by Cate Barham, Ocean Grove Coast Action initiator

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