Thursday, January 30, 2014

Australia Day 2014

As you may have heard - actually you would have to have a hearing impediment to have missed it - escape2create2013 was awarded the community event of the year!

We were so excited to receive this - SO SO EXCITED!

Meredith took a phone call last December - Cummins Xmas Parade & Traders Night  - and was told this amazing news by our lovely Mayor. In a shocked and excited state, Meredith then rang me and we headed into town to celebrate a little bit!

Our award was presented on Australia Day 2014 and we were so happy to have the two people who submitted two separate nominations speak.

Here is what Kathryn Doudle said :

Amanda Hall and Meredith Treloar combine their time, talent, determination and passion, to offer women of Eyre Peninsula and beyond, which now includes every corner of Australia, annual scrapbooking weekend retreats. This year will be it’s 7th year. They do it with no monetary rewards; they do it for the love of a craft.

It all started back in 2007 when Amanda, Meredith, Sue Parsons and Tiff Firth used to get together and scrapbook in their homes and thought it would be a good idea to have a whole weekend of scrapbooking, a get away. So along with friend Val Slater, who assisted in providing the meals, in March 2008 it all came to fruition, the Lions Hostel at North Shields was booked and women around Eyre Peninsula were invited to attend a scrapbooking retreat. Local shops who sold craft supplies were also invited to bring their wares to sell to the women, and come along for some fun too.

Each year since, it has grown incredibly. It is known Australia wide, it is relaxed & friendly, it offers high quality and well-known teachers who conduct workshops throughout the weekend. All meals are catered for. A masseuse and beautician are on hand for pampering. When we first arrive, the Lions Hostel is transformed from a tin shed to a magical scrapbooking heaven, shops are set up and full with supplies to purchase, decorations abound, the tables are beautifully decorated, every little detail is thought of, down to a coffee mug with your name & a unique logo on it, for you to take home. A large “goodies bag” is also handed to every participant, full of samples that have been kindly donated.

If that’s not enough, in October of each year a “mini retreat” is also organized. A smaller affair, without all the “bells and whistles”, but a good opportunity for local women, and a handful from Adelaide, to get together for a weekend of scrapbooking and friendship, now conducted at Trinity Haven.

The seating of the main retreat now squeezes 80 participants, but they could add to this number, if there was somewhere big enough to hold that amount of attendees, with accommodation. November is registration for the event, for the following year in March. It is booked out within minutes, and then a waitlist is created. Getting a seat at this retreat has been compared to getting concert tickets to see Pink! Amanda and Meredith are so professional in their conduct and mature in their dealings with the variety of women, from all around the country.

The teachers have travelled from Perth, Sydney & Adelaide in the past, but for the 2013 event, talented teachers came from Hobart, Brisbane and Warrnambool. One lady, who drives from Sydney with her husband, has been back attending the retreat for the past 3 years and makes a holiday out of it each year. Donations for prizes for the retreat come from all over the world, including America. It is putting Port Lincoln, Cummins and Eyre Peninsula on the map. Previous attendees, including invited teachers, are returning and bringing their friends.

Amanda and Meredith are supporting local businesses, keeping craft shops across Eyre Peninsula going strong. IGA and other food shops to feed 90 people, 3 meals a day are all benefitting. Not to mention all the other businesses that they purchase from around the area.

These 2 women are busy, working Mums and farmers wives, who are making a significant contribution and difference to many women, where we, as participants, are able to have a weekend off from our busy lives and able to have a getaway to enjoy a hobby we all love, to meet up with old and meet new friends.

In conclusion, I for one appreciate everything that goes into this event and appreciate the many many many hours that go into the organizing & preparations, so much behind the scenes stuff, of such a huge and successful event, by these two incredible ladies. I congratulate Amanda and Meredith on this award and we are looking forward to another great weekend soon, coming up in March.

and then Sandra Wallace spoke about her nomination:

Thank you to the selection panel for recognising escape2create and it's organisers for the the Australia Day community event of the year.
When it was suggested to me to nominate escape2create for the award i jumped at the opportunity. I couldn't think of anyone more deserved of recognition for an event than Amanda Hall and Meredith Treloar, for all the reasons that Kathryn has already mentioned and more.
Included in my nomination were testimonials by Trish Stevens, Melanie Forbes, Lauren Boase, Marilyn Scholz, and Lindy Brook and Leah Carr from the Sheoak Craft Cottage.
I don not have the time to read all of the wonderful testimonies to you today but common superlatives used to describe escape2create and the organisers were

  • friendly country hospitality
  • fun and laughter
  • hard work and tireless hours
  • inspiration
  • made to feel special
  • fantastic food sourced locally
  • local shops
  • well known Australia wide
  • community spirit
  • coming back
Well i could keep going but if i did i would well and truly be going over my allotted time but the main theme to come through their testimonies was appreciation and gratitude to Amanda and Meredith for all of their hard work to make sure that every attendee has an amazing experience.
This gratitude also extends to their families who give Amanda and Meredith help and support on the home front and also with setting up the retreat. So on behalf of all those have have attended retreats i would like to extend our thank yous to Greg Hall and John Treloar and also to Kelsey, Georgia, Piper Jack, Lachlan, Rohan and Hannah for all the support they give Amanda and Meredith as they work tirelessly in the lead up to the retreats.
And finally thank you Amanda and Meredith. Every year there are many grateful retreat goers who are thankful for all you do. And it's wonderful to see that all your handwork has been recognised today, not only by those who attend the retreats but also by the selection panel and also those outside the scrapbook community. 
Enjoy your day girls… you well and truly deserve it.

and then Meredith and I got up and said this :

Mayor Julie Low, CEO Rod Pearson, Award Recipients and community members,

Firstly we would like to extend our congratulations to Lyall, Bryce, Mandy and the RSL for receiving their awards today. All are very deserving winners and are good people doing great things for the Lower Eyre community.

We are excited, humbled, honored and a bit shocked to accept the 2013 community award for escape2create scrapbooking retreats.

Scrapbooking is a hobby involving photos, glue, paper and documenting memories – almost like a visual diary which you can add as much artistic flair to as you like. A scrapbooking retreat is a getaway or break from the routine of everyday life where you sit amongst like-minded friends and scrapbook the weekend away. All meals and accommodation are taken care of. Basically you can sit, scrap, eat, drink, and laugh until the wee hours of the night. And we certainly do this!

As with all great ideas, the beginning thoughts of Escape2create (or e2c) were born in 2007 with wine and good friends. We madly planned and promoted our first retreat, which was held way back in 2008. At that time we had 45 ladies attend and we had plenty of available space for more. In 2013 we had 80 seats available and our bookings sold out within 1 minute. Our retreat planned for March this year sold out in October in less than 30 seconds. Our ‘little’ retreat isn’t so little anymore!

Escape2create have scrapbookers from all over Australia eager to attend. In 2013 we had ladies from Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and many many make the trip from Adelaide. E2c is recognized nation wide and is the only retreat in South Australia.

This national recognition is very exciting, but our focus has always been on local attendees and supporting our local businesses as much as we can. Not long after we began we realized how special this retreat was and how much the time out meant to people. At the end of the retreats it is not uncommon for these ladies to hug and cry and tell us how much they needed some time to be themselves. To step away from their work, or family or children and just be themselves. There is so much more to our retreats than paper, glue and photos

The planning of the retreat spans 6 months and incorporates the design of our logo, choosing the colours, theme, and the decorations. Meredith and I are pedantic in the small details, wanting everything look perfect.

Every year we handpick a selection of up and coming scrapbookers to teach a class at the retreat. We have been fortunate to have met and hosted some wonderfully creative ladies from all over Australia who come along to our retreat to provide inspiration to our attendees. Every
class has always been well supported and the teachers walk away at the end of the weekend with 80 extra friends.

E2C is a non-for profit organization and over the years we have also promoted raffles and donations toward breast cancer research, a local house fire victim, the Cummins Hospital and the Red Cross bushfire fund.

While we understand that the award is for the past years efforts, it would be remiss of us not to mention the 6 previous years and the others who have been involved along the way with the whole process. It really has been a team effort over the years.

Sue Parsons and Tiff Firth were a part of our original group who thought up the idea of a weekend getaway for the local paper crafters. These girls put in many hours of hard work over the years that they were involved in e2c. This retreat is as much a part of them as it is a part of us despite them now enjoying it from the other side, as attendees.

Val Slater was also one of our original crew, only retiring last year from her menu planning, purchasing and master chef job. This was a huge undertaking and we are grateful for her involvement despite her not being scrapbooking mad. Kathryn Doudle has also been involved with our meal planning and cooking in the past and her meals and enthusiasm was a brilliant addition to e2c. In recent years we have welcomed Mel Dicko, Kym Broad and Leanne Pollard– also not scrapbookers but these girls bring a whole lot of fun to the kitchen.

We would also like to thank our local scrap stores from who all attend and sell their wares. These girls are also incredibly supportive with generous donations for prizes and goodie bags which every attendee receives. They also source kit supplies for our classes, which can often be a challenging job to find 65 of one item.

Our husbands and kids have sacrificed a lot of time for e2c. We know this and hope that the kids can see the bigger picture and be proud of what their mums have done. Greg and John are willing helpers during the set up and pack up process and are often called upon to design and construct our decorations. Thank you boys for your support.

Finally thanks to our nominators, Kathryn Doudle and Sandra Wallace. Thank you for taking the time to put the nominations together. These ladies have always been willing to lend a hand to help e2c behind the scenes and we are very grateful that they are as passionate about the retreat as us. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Escape2create has given both Meredith and myself more joy and reward than we could have ever imagined. This award is a huge honour and we feel very grateful to accept it today.

Thank you.

It was an amazing day - thank you Sandra and Kathryn, all those who wrote supporting letters and were there on the day to give us a smile and loads of encouragement.

(some snaps of the day by my kids)