Tag Archive | inspirational

Volunteering at Tough Mudder NZ

I LOVE volunteering!
Why do I love it? Well like Booker T. Washington says “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else”.  It’s not that I do it to make myself feel better, it just so happens that when you help others it is a natural repercussion that you do feel better about yourself, your life, and those around you. I love meeting new people and getting to know them, even if it is just a quick hello in the street or high 5 as they run past with a smile on their face, I know that what I am doing has an impact on their lives whether big or small. Interestingly enough there is a TED talks video I watched recently about “Lollipop moments” which talks about exactly that. Those moments, that to you may be a simple gesture and you forget about tomorrow, may mean the world to someone else or create a drastic change in their lives. Here is the link to the clip if you are interested in watching further.
My latest volunteering experience was at Tough Mudder in Auckland on Anzac weekend. Abbey (my sister) and I had both put our names down to volunteer on the Saturday and Abbey was running it on the Sunday. Unfortunately I am still recovering from an ankle injury so didn’t want to risk it getting worse by running the course. Being a close family like we are, mum had come down to drive us to and from the event, it just so happened there was space for her to volunteer on the Saturday (AND Sunday) as well. Getting up at 4am on a pitch black cold and frosty morning was the hardest part! Once we put all our gears on and got on the road we forgot how early it was an started to feel the anticipation of what was waiting for us. This was the first time the Tough Mudder had been run in NZ so other than USA course Youtube video’s we really didn’t know what to expect.
Breakfast panini at Tough Mudder New Zealand

Tough Mudder panini

NZ Tough Mudder Volunteer t-shirt

Mum sporting her volunteer t-shirt

 After an hour of driving we reached Hampton Downs raceway. It was a lot bigger than I had imagined, and there were already a lot of volunteers there getting amped for the day. We wandered on inside and registered for the day, picking our stations – Abbey and I started on a water station, and mum was delegated to the next free obstacle which happened to be the Electric Eel! We were given our bright orange t-shirts and a delicious bacon and egg breakfast panini then grouped outside for our briefing. Each station was allocated little boxes with radios, maps and instructions for set up, then we were driven off to our separate locations.
Tough Mudder NZ water station

Abs manning our water station

Tough Mudder NZ Water Station

Tough Mudder water station

 As Abbey and I were on water station 5 (at the 14km mark) it meant the first hour was down time (apart from the one super speedy guy who finished the course in 1.5hours!!!), so we made friends with the couple who were in the High Five zone next to us and jumped in on high fiving everyone who ran past. This is where our enthusiasm began! My sister is a naturally loud person so she was shouting “woohoo” and getting really into it from the first group who ran through. This put me in a great cheering mood too; I managed to get both hands muddy pretty quickly and somehow got a few photos in!
Tough Mudder NZ Hi five zone

Hi five zone

Tough Mudder NZ Hi five

Giving out Hi fives

Tough Mudder NZ Hi 5

More Hi five’s

The next four hours were spent at our water station, initially we had the tables set up with empty water cups, then we though it’d be nicer if we filled the cups so the runners didn’t have to stop and get the taps all muddy. After a few groups came through though we realised there were too many runners and not enough time to fill all the cups, so we resorted to holding two piles of stacked cups on the side of the path and handing them out as the runners went past. This worked like a charm and gave us more time and energy to be support every runner and yell out positive comments to on coming groups. This was my favourite part of the day; seeing each person light up when they saw us, and smiling or commenting back when we encouraged them!
 We were allowed to swap to volunteer on obstacles, however after having a walk around some at lunch time we decided we were quite happy with our little motivational water station set up! We got a chance to chat to some of the mudders while they were filling up their water and having that personal connection with each one as they came past was what made our day. We went home buzzing from the enjoyment of having helped make the event a success and keeping people’s spirit’s up. Water station 5 was the last water stop for the final 6k’s of the course so we had the most important job (in our own minds anyway!)
Tough Mudder NZ tyre obstacle

Tough Mudder NZ tyre obstacle

Tough Mudder NZ Mud Mile obstacle

The Mud Mile

Tough Mudder NZ Electro Shock Therapy obstacle

“Electro shock therapy”

The event organiser’s were fantastic, especially Chris (our zone leader) and Stormy, they made the extra effort of going around every single volunteer and thanking them personally for helping make the event go so well. Along with our delicious breakfast panini’s, and our bright orange volunteer shirts, they also gave us a yummy lunch (filled roll, Moro bars and bananas!) and a free Export Citrus beer at the end of the day (I don’t normally drink beer as I can’t stand the flavour, however this citrus one was delicious and it’s a very low percentage too – the perfect girly beer!).
Tough Mudder NZ volunteers

Covered in mud at the end!

So we helped out and were spoiled with much appreciation and thanks (surprisingly a lot of Mudders said their thanks mid course, and even after the finish line came up especially to say thank you). This is exactly why I LOVE volunteering, it might not mean much to us (although we had a great time), to just one Mudder it could have been the difference between stopping and carrying on. You don’t know who or when, and that’s half the fun, it makes you determined to do a great job just for the chance there will be that one “lollipop moment” in someone’s life.

Opals Doggie Day Out

Yesterday I took Opal to doggie heaven on earth – also known as Days Park in Hamilton, or Opals Wonderland.

Entrance to Days park, Hamilton

Entering Days Park, Hamilton

Opal at Days Park, Hamilton

My princess in Wonderland

Waiting to run free at Days park

Waiting to run free








Days park is an amazing area where dogs can roam off leash through a huge park filled with trees, bush walks and can even frolic in the river.
Autumn trees at Days park

Autumn trees at Days park

The rock at Days park

Opals favourite rock at Days park








This is Opal’s FAVOURITE place and every time we start to drive down River road she gets really excited and can’t wait to race off into Wonderland. There are a variety of nice paths to walk around – the top loop takes about 20 minutes at a casual pace, there are many shortcuts down to the river side walks, and a huge drive way at the entrance that leads down to the river too. It is quite a nice place for owners to relax, with picnic tables and chairs that have been donated by families of those who have passed on and want others to enjoy the park as much as they did.
Opal in the Waikato River

Opal in the Waikato River

Dogs at Waikato River

Dogs playing in the river

I usually take Opal here on a Sunday as it is the most time I have to just let her play and relax without being on a schedule. We always meet different people and a wide variety of dogs and puppies in Opals Wonderland. Most dogs like to play and they can chase each other for miles, or race each other to the stick in the river. It is such an amazing place, our dogs are so lucky that the council has grounds like this they can roam free and play to their hearts content.
Dogs at Days park

Making friends at days park

Days park riverside walkways

Days park riverside walkways

Sunshine at Days park

Opal enjoying the sunshine

Beautiful backdrop of Days park

Beautiful backdrop of Days park

This is my favourite place too, it always helps me relax as I am surrounded by nature (it is a very picturesque environment) and the most loving creatures on earth (DOGS of course!). As well as being a great bonding time with Opal, I also find it takes me away from reality just watching the dogs enjoy the simple things like discovering new smells in every inch of the park, stopping to greet every dog and human they pass and getting pats galore!
The rock at Days park

Opals favourite rock at Days park

Finding new smells at Days park

Exploring new smells

Taking in the view at Days Park

Taking in the view

One of the chairs donated to Days park

One of the chairs donated to Days park

A lovely walkway at Days park

A lovely walkway at Days park

Another pathways at Days park

Another pathway at Days park

Through the different seasons you get to see the trees in bloom, watch their leaves change colour and drop, see the river rise and fall and see what shapes it leaves behind. In the summer you also see a lot of rowing crews and water skiers enjoying the river and runners making the most of natures pathways.  Each trip here always reminds me how beautiful our country is and that we really do need to step back and (like the dogs) take the time to notice the small things that make the difference to our every day lives.

Twenty Wishes for 2014

This is my first link up party so I am starting off lightly with 20 wishes for 2014 as opposed to each month.
My Twenty wishes are:
1. Read 12 (non-uni) books 
2. Have a skiing weekend at the mountain
3. Attend a blogging meet up
4. Increase to two blog posts a week
5. Create a new meal from a healthy recipe every month
6. Take up dancing lessons 
7. A random act of kindness every week
8. Learn a new photoshop skill each month
9. Visit a family member in the south island
10. Go rock climbing
11. do a horse trek on a beach
12. Go ice skating
13. make home made bread 
14. Go sky diving in Taupo
15. Graduate university
16. Successfully grow some vegetables
17. Get a facial
18. have a date weekend with my man
19. Volunteer at a non-for profit organisation
20. sort out storage
So that’s my beginners list. Let’s see how we go!

Your 2014 hostesses are…

Kassi & Kayli @ Truly Lovely

Leadership: learning the skills

Leadership is an interesting concept. In life we have many different leaders, and therefore many different interpretations of what makes a good leader. I have been a leader in the form of netball team captain, netball coach, junior rugby team manager, president of the university communications club, a big sister and training staff. These are each different in their own ways and I have learnt a variety of skills from each role.

This year I have decided to look deeper into what makes a good leader and how I can improve on what I have already learnt from these experiences to make myself a better leader in the future. I am taking a university paper in leadership (which happens to be coded 111!), I have also taken the opportunity to participate in a six day leadership camp through the NZ Rotary Club (which starts on Saturday). I thought it would be good to compare my current views of leadership with those I have after attending the camp,  and finishing my uni paper.

The leadership lectures at uni focus a lot on our own personality and combine it with the research theory that has been done on leadership qualities. One study we were given showed that New Zealanders ranked the following four characteristics as most important in a good leader:

  • Honesty (86%)
  • Forward-looking (86%)
  • Inspiring (78%)
  • Competent (53%)

These are very similar to the top four characteristics I would have chosen for a good leader. It is however a challenge to have a strong balance of all of these characteristics in every leadership role. I think attending the Rotary camp and completing the uni paper will help me to cement my own personal leadership style and fine tune how I use each of these characteristics to best serve in different situations.

The Rotary leadership camp is next week and before I go I have to make a one minute presentation with voice over on ‘what leadership means to me’. I have used my previous sporting and club experiences to demonstrate what I think a good leader is and how I attempt to demonstrate those skills. This is a good starting point and I will be interested to see how my views expand and alter during the camp.

I will report back after camp. Wish me luck.


In the end you reap what you sow

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”.                     Robert Louis Stevenson.