2 March 2016
Dear Stable on the Strand 2015 Volunteers,
It doesn’t seem like 10 weeks ago we were packing up Stable on the Strand 2015. However now we are into March and looking to the year ahead, and in many ways caught up in our day to day activities, even the holidays seem a distant memory.
On behalf of the Management Committee I extend a big thank you for your contribution into the event, and in so doing the very fabric of the Townsville community, extending your goodwill to many through volunteering, and helping make the 2015 event in many people’s eyes, the best event yet.
I took the opportunity to spend some time sitting on the promenade during last’s year (2015) event and reflecting on why I keep coming back each year to spend many hours in helping organise and participate in Stable on the Strand. In reality I don’t get to ‘enjoy’ the event like so many others, even though I attend each night. My enjoyment comes from a different source. It came to me when I was watching a variety of birds, nearly in a procession, come and go at our bird bath in my backyard. They just don’t come to drink, but to take delight in having a bath, splash, preen, chirp and in their joy chase others in their groups. To the birds it is a community activity they can enjoy together. They don’t know or care who cleans or fills the bird bath, they come and enjoy it all with each other. Just like many who come to Stable on the Strand; grandparents, parents, adults, friends, families and children gathering and enjoying the sights, sounds, food and activities we present each year. Many have no idea who ‘puts it on’ apart from the Combined Churches, but many come back multiple times.
I also realise there are, unfortunately, many in our community who have very little positive input into their lives on a week by week basis, due to ill health, strained relationships, financial struggles, poor living conditions, isolation, mental health issues etc. Stable on the Strand presents a vibrant, colourful, engaging, relaxed, no hassle entertainment … free for all to enjoy. Our event helps build social capital, promote positive messages and display love, peace and goodwill to all.
I would like to share with you some statistics, survey results, stories and photos from Stable on the Strand 2015
Stable 2015 Statistics
|Website Unique Visits||15,114||24,062|
|Donations for the Needy||$1,272||$858|
|Youth Art Auction||n/a||$298|
Indications are we will go close to breaking even for the financial year ending 31 March 2016, which is similar to last year (2014/15) apart from changing accounting recognition of some expenses.
Stable 2015 Visitor Survey Results
During Stable 2015, 97 surveys were conducted on site. Of these, 64% came as a family or in a group, 24% were couples, and 12% individuals.
Other responses for "Like Most" included: all ages involved, angels, atmosphere, better flow, body art, bread making, carousel, carpenter shop, characters, Christian message, Churches working together, community, costumes, dancing, dress ups, family friendly, fishing, food, Herod, interactive, music, new layout, prayer wall, puppets, scavenger hunt, shepherds, soldier, The Promise, wise men.
Stable 2015 Stories
"We are very impressed about the Stable of the Strand 2015; we visited during our trip from Cairns to Brisbane. It seems to us that this is a sign of different churches which stand together to let the world know what is Christmas about.
We were very encouraged when we visited the stable on the strand on December 20th. We were asked by a local pastor where we are from and he was very surprised when he recognized that we are from Switzerland and have seen the homepage when we were planning our holidays. He prayed for us spontaneously and blessed us which encouraged us pretty much.
I would like to encourage your churches to continue this very important challenge in this world. Be blessed."
"My daughter K has always been really keen to help at Stable on the Strand. Every year she asks if she could work in various areas around the Stable and has been a wise man guide, beggar, a chicken handler and most recently a baker.
This year, like most families, the lead up to Christmas was hectic, my mum was visiting from Canada, and I felt I needed a break. I agreed K could help but I felt I just wanted to relax, enjoy Stable, while sipping on tea and eating Christmas cake.
The first night was beautiful, the music amazing, the weather outstanding, the food comforting, and the volunteers were working so diligently (amazing job hospitality!).
On the second night, as I dropped my daughter off, I noticed the volunteers were down a bit and many of the same volunteers had returned. Mom and I found our corner but somehow things just weren’t the same. There was a longing to be involved – to help! I watched volunteers work extra hard this evening because there weren’t as many this night as there were the previous night. Now they had to do the work of two or three people. Mum and I made the decision then and there that we too wanted a 'piece of the action'.
Returning the third night we discovered my daughter was the only one signed up for the second shift of the bakers hut. With a usual staff of three it made perfect sense that my mum and I should be bakers as well.
What an incredible night we had!!!!!! We were a HIT! Yep popular as ever! Everyone wanted to eat our bread! Mum took the position as Head Baker, using her incredible culinary expertise to mix the ingredients into a soft dough. My daughter worked the crowd, gathering the young kids around to help her make the little dough balls, and I took up the rear, putting the bread into the oven and then happily burning my fingers on the hot bread to get it on the plate for the waiting masses.
I must confess this was one of those special times that I got to share special moments with my mum and daughter. I really thought I deserved to sit and enjoy Stable from afar but the time I truly felt it was Christmas was when I was burning my fingers, watching my mum and daughter thoroughly enjoying themselves, and sharing Jesus to the people of Townsville.
Next year I won’t be so keen to just sit, next year I want to be involved."
The Management Committee has decided to not continue with the Volunteer Thank You event but rather put time and energy into preparing for Stable on the Strand 2016.
I hope you have a really awesome year and you will be ready, willing and able to sign up as a volunteer for Stable on the Strand 2016.
With every blessing,
Stable on the Strand Management Committee