Logan-Beenleigh Celebration of Ability

Jason Reid

As many of you would be aware a great event is the result of a committed event coordinator, a healthy budget, a tried and tested venue, an enthusiastic audience and fantastic weather. Well in an ideal world maybe - but we work in the real world and in the real world the journey is a lot more exciting.

The journey for the Logan-Beenleigh Celebration of Ability began early in 2005 and by April a team of enthusiastic service representatives had come together with a view to plan a "great event". It was clear from the outset that the players had loads of passion but only a little experience when it came to planning events - but as the saying goes "whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

The disability sector network of Logan-Beenleigh called for anyone interested in forming a working group in order to pull together the event. In the end, representatives from Keystone Disability Services, Job Placement Limited, Centrelink, Commonwealth Carelink Centres, Queensland Education, Volunteering Logan River Valley and Logan City Council came together as the working group for the Logan-Beenleigh Celebration of Ability 2005.

The focus for the event was celebration of ability and to this end all of the planning around activities, displays and information focused on celebrating the ability of people with a disability. Out of much discussion of activities and guest speakers it was decided to invite Gerrard Gossens to officially open the event and to give an inspiring address. Needless to say how excited the working group was to hear Gerrard had agreed to visit our event and give the opening address. This is a caption from the media release

"Gerrard Gosens, one of Australia's most outstanding young achievers & Deputy CEO of the Royal Blind Foundation Queensland, will visit Logan to officially open the Logan-Beenleigh Celebration of Ability."

Remember how we mentioned earlier about the real world and how the journey is a lot more exciting - well it didn't turn out that the excitement was to be that Gerrard was coming but that at the last minute he wasn't coming. Now to be fair I must mention that the reason Gerrard couldn't make our event was because the Federal Government had decided to honour Gerrard with an award for his achievements and he was to be presented this award on Saturday 3 December, in Canberra - congratulations Gerrard. But oh my goodness what do we do now for an official opening address.

The beauty of having any challenge with a working group doing the planning is that you have more than one person who may be able to call in a favour, and what a favour we found - Geoff Trappett, Paralympian and World Record holder 100m track.

Geoff gave an inspiring address which openned the door for line dancing, dramatic performances, tai chi demonstrations, mural painting, handball - frisbee and table tennis, RACQ driver training demonstration, information displays, sausage sizzle, live radio broadcast, karaoke and even the RSPCA Emu (no not a real one) that was all enjoyed by up to 600 people on the day.

Further to the seven (7) organisations represented on the working group there were fifteen (15) organisations who provided activities, five (5) organisations with product displays and thirteen (13) organisations with information displays, which all added up to a great collaborative effort and a very successful day.

So while you are sitting there reading this article, we as the working group of the Logan-Beenleigh Celebration of Ability 2005 would like to encourage you to take the step in 2006, bite off a little more than you can chew, work with others in the sector and outside of the sector and have some fun in celebrating the ability of the beautiful people you know.