Meet our Campfire Partners!

Alice Recaps her Partner Roadshow from March 2020

1,596kms, 12 Days of Travel, 7 Partners, 5 Locations, 2 Cars and 1 Plane

At Campfire we love raving about the amazing people that enable our partners to do the incredible work they set out to achieve in their missions. Ever since I started working at Campfire, I have been wanting to meet them; the amazing people. But meeting amazing people was not the only reason I went on my Partner Roadshow – I was itching to meet the incredible founders of the organisations that have contributed to the success of Campfire.

So, pull up a camping chair, get your marshmallow ready to roast and engage your story-time listening ears. I am about to share with you my Partner Roadshow story.

To say the start of my roadshow was bumpy is an understatement…I started my trip with a flat tyre! On the highway, about 5 mins from the exit I needed to take to get to my Sunny St shift visit! Whilst waiting for my trusty pals at RACQ, I pondered what other dramatic events might I stumble across on my Partner Roadshow. (N.B. COVID-19 had not been declared a global pandemic at this point and hence was not a pondered dramatic event I could stumble across).

Once arriving and due to my obsessive punctual nature I had left an hour before necessary, I therefore discovered I was only 10 mins late to the shift and the whole flat tyre debacle was a perfect icebreaker with the volunteers I was meeting!

Whilst talking with the volunteers at Sunny St, their stories and motivations to volunteer are all so moving. One in particular really stuck with me

“I volunteer because I want to breakdown stereotypes.”

This volunteer is an ED (Emergency Department) nurse by day and is made continuously aware of the bias that is placed on homeless patients in most clinical settings.

On the following day, I was back in Brisbane, and headed to King George Square where the afternoon shower had left a glow on the impressive sandstone City Hall and the tiled square gave off an enchanting glow. This was the perfect setting to literally paint the town purple! With the 4 Voices van, their founders, foundation volunteers and a few Campfire reps we watched as the violet glow attracted the eye of so many passer-bies. Watching the volunteers begin conversations with members of the public; their excitement and enthusiasm for the cause of the organisation was palpable. Buzzing with this tangible excitement, I was able to chat to them about Campfire. As their operations had not yet begun, it was a really good opportunity for us to discuss the benefits Campfire will have for them. To be able to capture their individual impact and watch 4 Voices’ community impact grow via Campfire was a vital piece of information for them which will assist in their adoption of the platform.

We love hearing about volunteer stories and their success with Campfire and I know that there will be some amazing stories that come out of 4 Voices and their volunteer experiences – so stay tuned!

A great Saturday afternoon session was had with the team at Dig In. A hot and humid kitchen could have dampened anyone’s mood, but no volunteers’ moods were dampened here! Every section in the kitchen was covered! We had fruit cutters, fruit packers, chicken pull-a-parterers, sandwich makers, rice and curry heaters, and of course, esky packers. What a team and what a cause!

I can’t be biased, but in terms of Campfire, Dig In is one of my faves (only because EVERYONE is on it!). But it’s not just their amazing adoption rate, it’s the different ways each volunteer and team leader uses it. I was lucky enough to chat with a couple of volunteers about the reasons why they love Campfire, which were mainly based around the “My Elements” page. This page is the first page a volunteer or manager sees when they jump into Campfire. It shows a preview of what the upcoming rosters will be for the volunteer, where the locations are and (the most important part if you ask me), what is their individual impact to the community. This page becomes incredibly important to so many volunteers for many different reasons. Similar to one of the volunteers for Sunny St, a few of the volunteers for Dig In, love the My Elements screen because their contribution not only effects them, but contributes to their university requirements and success.

After all my chats with these amazing people, I got to go and help out serve!!! I am so happy to be a part of one of their record breaking shifts! We served over 130 friends which means we were able to hand out over 300 meals! Look at all my exclamation marks, clearly I was excited (hahah!).

This concludes my Queensland end of the Partner Roadshow – now it’s time to jump on a flight and head to Sydney (again pre-pandemic still).

Ahhh Sydney, the land of the busy (believe it or not, I was born here and yet still blown away by it’s craziness!). Off the plane, grabbed my suitcase and met my driver for the remainder of the trip. Now, I am not that swanky to require a driver per se, but my mum was free and already in the area from another road trip visiting her mum! I love when plans like this just come together!

Tuesday night, The Footpath Library. When I first heard about their mission, I was in awe of the diverse way we can help those doing it tough. Reading is a vital skill and we are fortunate to grow up where being able to read is a common skill but being able to have access to services where a person can continue to read is what is so incredible about The Footpath Library. Books ranging from autobiographies to fictitious novels and all the way through to National Geographic magazines are on offer for our friends on the street to pick up and read in their own time.

The Footpath Library’s Martin Place shift is fast and incredibly popular where an observer, like myself, was able to see one of their key values come to life: Books help keep people healthy and happy and truly are food for the mind and soul!

Mum and I set off south on Wednesday afternoon and headed Campbelltown way. Tonight, was my first ever training session. Was I a little nervous? Yes. Was I prepared? Absolutely! I have an incredible team at Campfire who provided me with all the material I needed to make this evening’s session a success.

We Are Community are an amazing group of volunteers who give their time so generously to walk their community streets and hand out items such as toiletries, hampers, meals and blankets and swags. As these shifts are quite diverse in nature and each time there are different items of more necessity than others.

We began our session with a little meet and greet – I believe that it is necessary for new users of Campfire to know what my role is and that I am here to help. Next, I moved into a little story, about why Campfire was developed, what the name means and who our team is back in Brisbane. This was a really vital piece of knowledge to share as technology has the tendency to distance us, and I wanted to close that distance.

Now to the nitty gritty of the session. We all logged in, moved through activity roster applications and into availability allocation. With these 3 simple actions, the We Are Community team were in Campfire, and had completed the steps that allowed their volunteer managers to create rosters . During this time, I was also able to spend time with each team member and troubleshoot questions they had individually. I got such a thrill from watching their adoption of new technology, and then consequently, they were able to teach other volunteers within their organisation to help them adopt Campfire! I don’t know about you, but I was pretty happy with that result.

Thursday morning we packed up, checked out, filled the car up and were back on the road heading north to Newcastle where I met up with DARA’s main man, Baden. We had a great session brainstorming the new features and how they could be even better for the whole Campfire community.

Don’t worry, I didn’t just go to Newcastle for a meeting – I also went on shift (better yet, I went on two!). The amazing people who volunteer with DARA have very different backgrounds but all volunteer for similar reasons; they want to do more. If doing more means flipping pancakes, making milo and reading stories to kids before they head off to school – then that’s what they will do. DARA has a range of ways to be involved with the community and because of this, they are able to reach so many different people. This means they have a lot of activities and a lot of people to manage – thanks to Campfire, they are able to do this more efficiently. After my training session with We Are Community, I felt more prepped to prompt a few questions with the volunteers I worked alongside in my visiting DARA shifts to ensure Campfire was working for them as well. Even better here, was the willingness to help others out in the DARA team that weren’t on shift with us that day. That is success!

From Newcastle we continued our trip north to arrive in Port Macquarie. On the Saturday morning, mum and I headed down to the church hall where we met an enthusiastic bunch of people, also known as a the amazing volunteers of Make A Difference.

Make a Difference is run by two incredible ladies, Erin and Kim, who help drive connection within the community; locals helping locals. It’s fascinating that a service like theirs is incredibly important to a community’s strength and creates the literal sense of community. Erin and Kim heard of Campfire at the end of last year and knew that Campfire’s purpose of connecting amazing people with incredible organisations to do extraordinary things would align perfectly with Make a Difference’s mission.

Back to our bunch of enthusiastic, amazing people; the Make a Difference volunteers. The plan was for me to conduct another training session, similar to the one I conducted with the We Are Community team – but this one was slightly delayed with a few technical difficulties and power points being in weird spaces which meant my computer was right next to the projector which was on the table where the volunteers were sitting. So instead of a presentation, it became a round table discussion. Much more fluid, less “teachery” for me and more beneficial for volunteers. There was free flowing conversation about different features within Campfire and what the new updates will look like to them and how it will work better for them.

After my training session, mum and I were invited to join the team on shift down near the creek where we got to see the Make a Difference mission in action. What a beautiful morning this was! Make a Difference volunteers were engaging in conversations with those doing it tough, but also connecting others organisations that want to help. They have food, tea and coffee provided by the lovely Quota Ladies – thanks ladies!

A huge shout out goes to my mum for doing this roadshow with me. The trip was big and would have felt a little lonely doing it by myself but having my number roadie (excuse the pun) with me every visit, presentation and leg of the trip was something I don’t know if I can put into words – thank you mum (aka mama Campfire).

Want to hear more?Connect with Alice Spies today

Alice is Campfire's Customer Success Coordinator