Purple Army of helpers lend a hand to Jacaranda Festival
WHEN you're out and about enjoying your Jacaranda Thursday and see a member of the Purple Army of volunteers wearing a tie-dye shirt, say hello because chances are you're talking to an international volunteer who's helping make our annual festival possible.
Jacaranda Festival president Jeff Smith said 20 volunteers from Youth With A Mission have made the journey down from Brisbane, however they are from all over the world, including Europe and the US.
Mr Smith said the organisers had difficulty finding volunteers, so the extra help from the YWAM volunteers, who arrived on Tuesday, was appreciated.
"I went to the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival at Stanthorpe and the coordinators had YWAM volunteering there and they said that without them the festival would not run," Mr Smith said.
"They were everywhere, and they found the exact problem that they had a lack of local volunteers, where these guys love doing it.
"We've been talking to them since March, the logistics getting them here at the right time was difficult but it's worth it.
"For us it means we can get stuff done and it expands our ability to run things properly."
Youth With A Mission is a global movement of Christians from many cultures, age groups, and Christian traditions and group leader Mathias Simonsen, from Denmark, said the group was excited to be in Grafton.
"We run a six-month disciple training school and part of that is volunteer work, so once we got the dates locked we were excited to be a part of the bloom," Mr Simonsen said.
"Unfortunately I had never heard of the Jacaranda Festival. I came to Brisbane two years ago and don't really know much of Australia outside of Brisbane so we're really excited to be here, it's a beautiful place.
"A lot of what's going on, local projects and to see life and relationships flourish, is something that we really want to partner with and see happen and grow.
"We're a part of a mission organisation, so if we can be in conversation with people and love them, that's a big part of what we're doing."
Mr Simonsen said the whole YWAM group were looking forward to talking and meeting people at Jacaranda Thursday today.