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|In here and out there|
Being a Defence kid can be tough. You may have just settled into a new place, then off you go again and once more you have to deal with a new school, new friends, new ways of doing things, and maybe even adjust to a new climate.
In May this year, we’re celebrating Defence kids with contests, activities, and other fun stuff for not only children of Defence personnel, but for kids in schools. Check out pages 28 and 29.
In May we also have the National Families week celebrations, so see pages 10 and 11 for details on events being held in your area.
Michael Hughes, Editor
The dfm website is out there
All previous editions of dfm are available on the website, as well as text only editions of the more recent issues. Our regular correspondent abroad, Darren Gallagher, has all his articles on the website as a separate page and there is a handy list of articles by subject matter that have been published since Summer 2007.
The online edition of dfm, in addition to replicating the hard copy sent to homes, will also have the online only content in the same document. Some of the online extras include: the adventures of Truckasaurus continues up north, Darren scopes out home brewing, and Veterans’ Affairs discusses how they look after the graves of those interred overseas.
And the WINNERS are...
In the Summer edition of 2009 we had a draw for copies of books reviewed in that edition of dfm. The books and their winners are as follows:
Looking Forward, Looking Back—about the customs and traditions of the Australian Army. Winners: Sandy of Weirock (QLD), Natasha of Mount Sheridan (QLD), and Graeme of Garran (ACT).
Off to war: Soldiers’ children speak—in which Defence children from Australia, Canada and the US discuss their experiences when a parent goes to an operational theatre. Winners: Michelle of East Freemantle (WA), Helen of East Albany (QLD), and Sally of Wattle Grove (NSW).
Healing Hands—about Australian civilian surgical teams serving during the Vietnamese war. Winner: Rebecca of Point Cook (VIC).
Message from Mick Callan—Director General Defence Community Organisation 3
Defence Families of Australia News 6
Operation Homefront Absence from home support activities 7
Bandiana Neighbourhood House Bridging the gap to stay connected 8
Northern Beaches Defence Families Playgroup 8
More than just playgroup—Mactier Community Centre 9
Families Week in May 2010 10
More than a Toy Library at RAAF Pearce 12
Welcome, welcome, one and all 14
Williams Defence Community House—meet our new playgroup facilitator 19
Supporting ADF families with a community initiative? Consider seeking Family Support Funding 19
Getting trooped—taking a walk with the 501st 20
Kayak Jack sails through fundraising target 22
Experience Program works wonders 23
Gold Creek school students visit ADFA 24
Defence Child Care Program news 25
Celebrate Bubs ’N’ Pets 26
The Defence Kids Program 27
Celebrating Defence Kids Month in May 2010 28
Scouting for Defence Families 30
Insurance scheme extended to DHOAS Eligible ADF members 31
Army wants you back—Project Boomerang 32
The Stepping Out program—assistance for those transitioning to civilian life 33
Is it a good time to invest? 34
ADF Family Health Trial update 36
Tell us how to communicate with you—the DCO Communications survey 37
Partners In Defence website 37
Launch of the pride in diversity initiative 38
ADF Transition Seminar calendar 2010 39
Changes to removal and relocation administration from 1 July 2010 40
Are you correctly enrolled to vote in 2010? 42
Special Needs News—Step Up and Start Program 42
DCO contact details 44
Advertising in dfm: dfm does not take paid advertising, though we do provide space for not-for-profit organisations that directly provide for ADF members and their families. If you’re looking to advertise your products or services direct to Defence members and/or civilians, the Service Newspapers (Navy Newspaper, Army Newspaper and Air Force Newspaper) are the ideal avenue for reaching that market. Please call Tim Asher for more information on 07 3332 7651 or 0414 552 667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Message from Mick Callan
Director General Defence Community Organisation
Here we are in 2010! We have made it through the latest posting cycle and by now most of the boxes should probably be unpacked. All Defence’s sites around the country are now buzzing with new people and new faces and this might be your first experience of your new location. We hope that the new horizons prove to be interesting and full of possibilities, wherever you have arrived.
We are now past the most turbulent phase of the posting, with most families settling into their new routines. This is the perfect time to find out about the new people in your area, or if you’ve just moved it’s a good time to get out there and get involved in
The focus of this issue is Defence kids, and I don’t need to tell our parents how special our kids are! Getting involved in your new community with your kids is not only a great opportunity for them to meet other children and form new friendships, but it gives you the opportunity to meet up with other parents. Finding that new soccer team, Scout group, ballet class or playgroup might just lead to friendships that last a lifetime, for parents and kids alike.
This issue has articles on Defence kids celebrations in May, on the importance of play and playgroups, as well as Defence Scouting and Cadets, but these are only a small example of the opportunities that are out there. Your local Family Liaison Officers at each Defence Community Organisation (DCO) office can help you out with finding the right community group for your family, or you might find the one you need through community billboards and local newspapers. Wherever you’re living, whether you’re new or established, take an interest and get involved. The opportunities can be amazing for all families.
This is not just a busy time for the families who have recently moved on posting. Many families are experiencing the return of loved ones from duty overseas, and are working to re-establish the family’s patterns and routines. This can be a wonderful time for the family, but it can also be stressful as all family members need to take the time to readjust. If you’re in this position, don’t forget to keep engaged with those around you and seek help if you feel that it might be necessary. DCO is here to support you through all the phases of your reunion. The Defence Mental Health website is also a great resource for maintaining and improving a Defence family’s wellbeing—see below for the link.
This issue of dfm is chock-full of interesting information and articles, but I would particularly like to highlight the upcoming celebrations for National Families Week in May. National Families Week is a nationwide event celebrating families in all aspects of Australian life, and once again Defence is participating in this event to put the spotlight on our families and their amazing contribution to the Defence mission. We know that the ADF could not continue to do its great work without the support of families, and National Families Week is one small way that we want to say thanks. Come along to a National Families Week event and let us say it to you in person.
Mental Health support to ADF members
Mental health affects how we think, act and cope with day to day life. It is more than the absence of illness, and includes well-being and resilience.
The Directorate of Mental Health (DMH) undertakes research, develops policy and coordinates training in the areas of mental health, drugs and alcohol, suicide prevention and critical incident response within Defence.
More information is available at the DMH website
By Chaplain Christine Senini, RAN
Hello, and thank you for your time. A funny thing happened to me on the way to 2010:
I find myself posted ashore, in a position without pastoral care or sacramental responsibilities.
If you’re a regular reader, you will know that I’m passionate about the ADF and caring for its members and their families and that I believe the greatest need for chaplaincy is on the ‘front lines’. For me, being a Defence Force Chaplain is not a career but a calling. If I had to, I would do it for free. It is my passion.
But passion is a two-edged sword. It has a price. When we were younger, a ‘pash’ meant no more than smooching ‘up the back of the bus’. As we grew to understand love, we found that ‘passion’ could bring ecstasy, but the strength of our passion could also bring hurt and heartache when love faltered, or rage or fury when we felt betrayed. Passion could come hand in hand with suffering. The word passion comes from a Latin word that means ‘to suffer’.
You may be familiar with the movie by Mel Gibson, The Passion of Christ. It is the Easter story, the story of the suffering of Jesus Christ. Passion Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ final agonising journey to the cross, ending in his crucifixion. As a Christian, I believe that Christ suffered and died for humankind. It was an act of love, of passion. Indeed, most parents would also risk their own lives for the lives of their children. They would suffer because of their love.
In my previous job with the Australian Federal Police, I was what we jokingly called a ‘bullet catcher’. As part of a Close Personal Protection Team, my role was to shield the VIP in my care - to catch the bullet before they did. While I didn’t love the VIP, I loved the job and I was passionate about justice. What I used to do was nothing special. Members of the emergency services can find themselves in dangerous situations. Whether it is risking their life in a fire or crawling into a mangled vehicle; they do what they do for something bigger than a pay cheque.
When you talk to people, you can see their passion; it is something I regularly see in the eyes of my sailors, and I see in the eyes of Commanding Officers. You can see it when you talk to aircrew about flying, or soldiers about weapons and tactics. Anywhere where people care, you see passion in the ADF.
I also understand that Defence families share that passion and often give until it hurts. Despite the ADF’s best efforts, it is a challenging lifestyle. We accept that one day, God forbid, that someone we know and love may give their life for what they believe in, to make the ultimate sacrifice. It is not foolhardiness or bravado, it is because of their great love for us, their belief, their passion. And it is an honour to serve alongside them.
May God watch over you and keep you safe.
Messages to the Troops
Australians are encouraged to send goodwill messages of a general nature to ADF soldiers, sailors, airmen and women who are on operations around the world. Messages can be sent via fax to (02) 6265 1099.
Or via email to: email@example.com
Alternatively, postcards (not enveloped letters or parcels) can be addressed to: Messages to the Troops
Department of Defence
Defence Families of Australia news
What is Defence Families of Australia?
Defence Families of Australia (DFA) is an independent advocacy group initially formed by Defence and the Government in 1986 to provide them with autonomous feedback and clarification to resolve issues affecting ADF families. Comprised of a diverse collective of Defence partners, DFA is a well respected organisation that represents the priorities and views of Defence families directly to the Chief of Defence Force and the Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science. DFA’s aim is to improve the quality of life for all Defence families by providing recommendations, reports, and therefore influencing policy that directly affects Defence families.
Introducing Julie Blackburn, DFA National Convenor
I was officially appointed to the role of National Convenor on 18 January 2010. My journey into the world of Defence, however, began when I met my husband back in 1995. Over a decade later, I am privy to those experiences that only other Defence families can understand—such as the pride and apprehension you feel farewelling a deployment, the challenges of keeping a family together when you are disconnected from each other for most of a year, not knowing where your home is as you have moved again, and getting lost returning from the shops!
Aside from my personal experiences, I bring to the role of Convenor a professional background in families and health. Be it physical, mental or social wellbeing, I recognise that the ongoing stressors of work-life balance often compromise the health of the family. Defence families are ordinary people, trying to live ordinary lives, often dealing with extraordinary challenges. The ADF is an employer who manages unique circumstances other employers need not consider. Therefore, it is often difficult for others to empathise with what those complexities are, highlighting DFA’s important interaction with policy development. Even for those of us living the Defence family life, we are often stepping unknowingly through our postings and relocations. The way we feel about where and how we live is often in conflict, and requires greater understanding.
A word of thanks…
On behalf of DFA and the many families she helped, I thank my predecessor, Nicole Quinn. During Nicole’s three-year tenure as National Convenor her determination and drive ensured that all Defence families were represented at the highest levels of Government. This valuable dedication was respected by Defence, who awarded Nicole with a Commendation from the Chief
of Defence Force upon her stepping down from the role.
Also much gratitude to Rowena Jimmieson, the outgoing National Delegate for South Australia, and Nicole Dooley for South Queensland, who have networked tirelessly to raise awareness of the needs of Defence families within
The DFA Executive were most honoured to enjoy the engaging company of Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, who met with the new DFA team during our training week in February. The Air Marshal talked about his own families’ experience as a Defence family and the issues that other Defence families face.
Our new team members include: Keron Wise in ACT/Southern NSW; Marion Donohue in NT;; Jillian Macey in South QLD; Camilla Kerr-Ruston as Lateral Recruit Officer and Annaliese McCammon as our National Policy Officer.
Thanks to the continued support of Head of People Capability Major General Craig Orme and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the DFA National Delegates came together for an intensive week of professional training in Canberra. This provided an opportunity to step through the challenges of Defence living, and discussion of current issues that affect families with the relevant departments within Defence and Government.