This time a year ago, Buddy Up Australia existed as a concept developed over many years and was being translated into a business plan. Last week we had our first strategy meeting with a total of 10 serving and ex-serving men and women participating: five of our board, two observers from the mental health space (ex-police officers) and phoning in were our chapter leaders from Hobart, Brisbane and Canberra. There was a buzz in the room as we discussed our “why?” – Why does Buddy Up Australia exist?
But first, let’s talk about the inspiration of Buddy Up Australia and where we came from.
With a service background, I’ve seen mates suffer from leaving an organisation with a high identity and purpose. They struggle with life on the outside and lack a sense of purpose and connection. This impact seeps out to their immediate families who can also suffer. Wanting to improve this situation I went searching within and outside Australia. Although there are some fantastic organisations that already exist, I felt there was still a gap. There were two organisations in the US that really resonated: (1) Team Rubicon, and (2) Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB). Team Rubicon “unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.” Essentially, they replicate the high pressure situations that uniformed people thrive on.
Team Rubicon are now operating here in Australia and Buddy Up Australia are keen to work with them at some stage. In fact, we’re keen to collaborate with all existing support agencies so we can provide the best service to those who have served and their families.
However, it was Team RWB that appealed the most – their mission is “to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.” They replicate the connection and purpose in a more relaxed environment ie regular fitness and social activities.
We’ve taken the Team RWB model and expanded it to include our emergency services (police, fire and ambulance) and added the Rubicon twist of volunteering for the local community.
We launched our website in July last year and have already scheduled over 68 events to ‘keep our buddies in the well zone’ through connection and purpose at physical, social and volunteering activities. That’s over two times what we anticipated this time last year!! As such, we’re excited to see what we can achieve in 2019 and beyond! Every event has the aim to keep our buddies in the well zone, which is our ‘why’.
We currently run events in four locations: Hobart, Brisbane, Perth and Canberra with an intention to have at least one chapter in every state by the end of 2020 with every service represented in every chapter. Some events are listed on our website but the most up to date are on our Facebook page.
We’d appreciate you spreading the word to your buddies to keep them in the well zone.