Just taking this opportunity to inform all of you at this 2016 AGM, in case a few have not already heard, that Sue and I have retired from active duty with the DSA.
In our 28 years with the DSA we have met up with the most amazingly good people. Nowhere in our experience, whether it is at work, in School Surfing, environmental or political circles, do these groups come close to the people that make up the DSA.
What a coruscating (look it up) organisation.
Starting back in 1988 (I still have Gary’s laminated appreciation certificate for that event up in my workshop – he used to laboriously do this for all volunteers and participants after each event, on his own, back in the day) when I first went up to Collaroy to expose him as a fraud only to discover that “he was onto something”.
Many bus trips with student volunteers up to Sydney to help with events from Collaroy through to Maroubra and even Cronulla – those were the days as the DSA was evolving from often catering for special interest groups to now just taking everyone, regardless of the challenge, on our ‘Hands On Days’.
Illawarra South Coast started in 1993 at salubrious down town Towaragi, with Newcastle the same year.
Fast forward to 2001, Gary’s brainchild of the “Little Ray of Sunshine Tour”, to promote the DSA further afield along the NSW coast north of Sydney. 2 weeks on the road with 4 challenging participants (Len, Dro, Jay, Sticks) along with 6 – 8 helpers at any one time (Gary, Shane, Doc, Barton, …) – what a trip which did inadvertently establish a faltering Mid North Coast Branch at Port Mac at the time.
From 2003 the wave began to swell with North Coast (Byron) and the Gold Coast leading the charge.
2004 South Australia was a sensation with 140 turning up for the training day after an initial less than promising meeting of only 7 (plus ABC TV crew of 3 plus Sue and I).
Perth exploded onto the scene in 2005 with Brucey distinguishing himself right from the start, even removing most of his piercings for the media work.
2007 saw the Sunshine Coast from Caloundra to Noosa, up and running.
Central Coast, Coffs and Dunsborough WA were up and running by 2008, along with Ocean Grove Vic in 2009.
NZ 2010 along with Mornington in 2011 when 186(!) turned up to be trained at Point Leo.
A bit of a lull then Warrnambool joins the family in 2015 despite the Ocean Grove gear trailer catching fire on its way to help at their first event.
And all of these branches are filled with brilliant people – you.
It has been a privilege meeting all of you – what a family of like souls.
We’ll always be enthused about the DSA and continue to promote it in our travels and day-to-day life.
Look after each other – you gals and guys are unique in the volunteer, let alone the surfing, world.
x Sue and Jim 22.7.16