29 April 2022

Younger blood needed to keep decades-old show alive

| Claire Fenwicke
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People in a sack race

Fresh faces are needed to keep Bungendore’s biggest event of the year from being cancelled. Photo: The Bungendore Show Facebook.

Key players are missing ahead of Bungendore’s first show since the pandemic began, jeopardising the event’s future.

Executive positions weren’t filled at the Bungendore Show Society’s recent AGM, along with several steward roles.

“Unfortunately this puts the show and the show society at risk of no longer operating,” acting president Ashley Meyer-Dilley said.

“If it doesn’t go ahead, the community loses its biggest event of the year.

“It would be a tragic loss.”

Mr Meyer-Dilley has been involved in the show society since 2014 when she was The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl (now the NSW Young Woman) representative for Bungendore.

She took over the reins of president in 2019, right when the pandemic cancelled shows across the country.

“COVID was really tough; it was the first time the show was cancelled since 1962,” she said.

Ms Meyer-Dilley has spent her time with the society attracting younger people in their 20s.

“It’s been about getting that next generation of people to come through,” she said.

“We have a lot of people who have been volunteering for more than 10 years; we want to make sure as they get older and say they can’t help out as much as they once did, there’s someone to step into that role.”

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The 26-year-old is now taking a step back herself as she establishes her career and is desperate for new people to join the society.

She’s especially interested in volunteers who are in their 30s and 40s.

“We have an ageing demographic of volunteers who, while are pretty tech-savvy, it’s not the same as meeting face-to-face and talking things through,” Ms Meyer-Dilley said.

“As for younger people, they’re at a time when they’re working full-time, establishing careers, which means their volunteering capacity is limited.

“So I’m wanting to tap into that demographic who may have a little more time, have taken a step back, parents who may have children who are also old enough to get involved.”

Ms Meyer-Dilley credits being part of the show’s society for opening doors and advancing her career in directions she didn’t think were possible.

“My career wouldn’t have taken off the way it has without the society and its support,” she said.

“When I joined I met the then local mayor Tim Overall, which led to me running for council with him, which then led to work with the NSW government.

“You make so many connections and meet so many wonderful people who you can then reach out to.”

She said it’s not just the networking side of the society that’s beneficial.

“You get to improve your everyday skills, be involved with event management, project management, engage with stakeholders, learn how to balance books; it’s a great way for people to learn how an organisation works.”

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But most of all it’s the connection to community and being able to put on an event that brings them so much joy where Ms Meyer-Dilley finds the most satisfaction.

“It’s an amazing way to feel a part of your community and connect with people you may not have otherwise connected with,” she said.

“Plus it’s a fantastic feeling to see so many people be part of something that you helped put together, seeing those people enjoy what you’ve put on.”

The positions of president, vice president and secretary need to be filled, along with volunteers to help run the horse, cattle, sheep, alpaca and dachshund events.

Ms Meyer-Dilley said people who hesitate to put their hand up because they think they don’t have the experience shouldn’t worry.

“I’d love to have sub-committees formed, a group of people to take care of something that would traditionally be a one-person role, to share that role around,” she said.

“We may have some big positions to fill but we will support you moving forward; just give it a go.

“If you enjoy the enjoyment of others, the show is 100 per cent where you should be.”

The Bungendore Show is set to be held on 23 October.

Anyone interested in a position needs to contact Ms Meyer-Dilley at [email protected] before 24 May.

The show was founded in the 1840s in the Lake George/Bungendore region and ran continuously since 1962, following a recess during World War Two and the subsequent post-war years, and then cancellations during COVID-19.

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Dianne Davis3:18 pm 03 May 22

Sad to think that these institutions are suffering. Hope you can find volunteers to fill the void

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