The Big Lift 2013
Where we went
In 2013 we once again had two buses of students volunteering at 8 rural communities over the course of the week. The Blue Bus visited Denman, Wee Waa, Glen Innes and Tenterfield, while the White Bus traveled to Aberdeen, Narrabri, Inglewood and Millmerran. Both buses began their journey in Sydney and reunited for a joint dinner at Wee Waa, at the Moree Baths, and finally in Brisbane where they continued home via Valla Beach together.
What we did...
The team really bonded together well over helping to local pre-school to contact some books and painted a shed in record breaking time for the local Lion's Club. But it wasn't all work and no play, the team were treated by the town with an amazing performance by the local poet.
White bus touched down in Narrabri and showed just how well they worked together by unloading the bus without letting a single item on the bus touch the damp ground. After a delicious combined dinner with Blue Bus, White Bus bonded over a cold night before getting to work painting and tidying a local showground. The team showed how close they were by improvising ladders using a wise piggy-back technique.
White Bus got to know each other over a night of relaxation and then smashed out a fence construction, deconstruction and painted too many buildings to count! It was certainly a highlight of the trip to see how fast everyone moved, desperate to make sure that every last drop of paint made it to the walls on time!
The team broke into smaller teams to help the town out as much as possible at nursing homes, golf courses and at the showgrounds. Needless to say the town was looking a lot tidier, greener and brighter when the White Bus sadly drove away.
We arrived in Denman in the late afternoon and explored the town's history and surroundings with a scavenger hunt. The local Scouts group cooked us an amazing dinner before we went to bed, excited for our first service project the following day! For our service project, half of the group helped clean windows and do general maintenance at the local retirement village, while the other half assisted with tree planting at a nearby conservation site.
Arriving at the expansive Wee Waa showground, we were greeted by the welcome site of a bonfire and smiling faces. The local Rotary and Pony Club hosted both the Blue and White Buses for an incredible dinner, before we once again parted ways. The following morning, we helped out by doing maintenance on the stables and by clearing out metal and junk from the dressage yard, which could be harmful to the horses.
At Glen Innes, the competition was fierce at our famed Big Lift Olympics night, with all the teams battling it out in a series of mini-games for the top prize. As part of our service project, we helped give some old fences, sheds and benches new life by giving them a fresh coat of paint. During our break, we were treated to a shearing demonstration by a local shearer, and some Lifters were lucky enough to have a go themselves!
At Tenterfield, more physically-inclined jobs awaited us, as we channeled our inner Hulks to demolish old stables and sheds. We then unwound at the Granite Belt Maze, a fun diversion which saw the teams from last night racing each other to solve clues to finish the maze first.
Blue and White Buses
We finally arrived in Brisbane where we were rewarded with hot showers, actual beds and a hearty pizza dinner. It was a chance for us to relax and celebrate the hard work we did over the week. The following day, participants were sent racing across Brisbane as they took part in the Bigmazing Race, ultimately finishing with a picnic at the Botanic Gardens. We then took to the streets to share the love by performing Random Acts of Kindness for the public, like giving out free hugs, flowers, tea and compliments. At dinnertime, we all feasted together at the Golden Palace Chinese restaurant and celebrated the amazing week we'd just shared together.
All good things must come to an end, and so it was that we arrived at Valla Beach, our final stop of the trip. First, we witnessed the musical talent of our Lifters as they took to the stage for the finale of Bus Idol. We then all had the opportunity to reflect upon our Big Lift journey as we took part in some thought-provoking, often emotional activities. Those who were able to resist the overwhelming urge to sleep were treated to a magnificent sunrise at the beach - the perfect end to the perfect week.
To read more about our day-to-day activities and the impact of the trip, check out our blog!