When you first arrive in an Australian town or city you will quite often see a series of badges displayed proclaiming the existence of various local service clubs such as the Lions Club, Apex Club, Rotary Club, Young Farmers and many others. While each of these service clubs are different, and in some respect have a unique audience, they all share common goals of providing a local voluntary community service in one form or another and are a fantastic way to understand the key things currently happening in your local area.
Members of community service clubs will often be involved in providing community services like Meals on Wheels, organising local social functions such as debutantes balls, supporting charitable causes and building small local infrastructure projects.
Community service clubs form an integral part of most communities throughout Australia and they are a great way to connect with people with similar interests and to build friendships. Many Australians use service clubs to network with others and to build career contacts. This can be especially important if you are moving to Australia and have not yet found full time employment. We explore a few of the service clubs that you may be able to join in your local community below;
The local fire brigade is much more than just a volunteer fire fighting service, local fire brigades are a great community social platform that get involved in many local projects. You will usually find that fire brigades are always looking for new members and that they meet regularly to provide training. They are also usually responsible for making sure Santa Clause get where he needs to during his busy period in December.
The Lyons Club is an international not for profit community service organisation that has over 1200 clubs distributed throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea. Its core focus is to service the local community. Their motto is where there is a need there is a lion. While membership is by invitation only, you will find that the lions club will be active in your local area and regulalry on the lookout for new members.
The Apex Club is very similar to the Lions Club in outlook and focus however the Apex Club has a generally younger (Working age below 40) membership. In this way they can potentially tackle different but equally important local community issues.
Rotary club members known as Rotarians have simple motto and this to put service above self. There are over 1100 rotary clubs in Australia and in excess of 30000 members. The Rotary movement was formed to foster fellowship.
Both the YMCA and PCYC welcome volunteers in many capacities and are a great place to get involved in community sports groups and youth work. They also often provide fitness training and gym facilities at a cheaper rate than most clubs or Gyms.
Every local community will have at least one of these service clubs operating in the local community and you will find them all very welcoming to new people in the area.
Joining a community service once you have settled in Australia will help you to;
- Grow your local network and to build relationships with other Australians and other migrants in your local area.
- Build your social skills and give you a better understanding of your new community.
- Develop career opportunities by helping you develop skills and make valuable connections
- Gain real enjoyment out of positively participating in community activities.
- Share your experiences with others who may be in need of assistance when first arriving in Australia.
As the Australian Government gives more focus to regional migration community services groups will continue to be an important means of understanding the region and provide support and direction to new people in the community.