Loud laughter and robust conversation echoed through The Criterion Hotel last night, as Awesome Newcastle made history yet again. September’s Awesome Newcastle was a particularly memorable affair, because, for the first time ever, we gave away not just $1,000, but $1,100!
We welcomed four planned guest board members. Returning guests included Amber Moncrieff from Hunter Plastic Surgery, Anna Lundmark from Hunter Water and Steve Pasvolsky of Skystone Productions. We also welcomed first time guest board member photographer and video producer Andy Jones. We were entertained and delighted to include surprise guest board member David Sawicki to boost our board headcount to 11. And, yes, he generously topped up the money bag too.
With $1,100 in the sack, the stakes were high, as were our spirits!
What a fantastic, diverse collection of Newcastle ideas we had at the table. We welcomed Kirsten Ansell from Host a Surfer, Hollie Newman of environmental education org Elasmo, and Michael McDonagh and Murrie Harris of the card game The Singing Drummer.
First up Kirsten spoke. She told us about her world-first, not-for-profit program, Host a Surfer.
Host a Surfer will provide world qualifying series (WQS) female surfers with safe, free and clean accommodation with host families at local WQS events in Australia, while also connecting children and community with WQS surfers to empower the next generation of surfers, athletes and leaders. By providing a place to stay with local families, Host a Surfer aims to give more female surfers the opportunity to participate in competitions they might not have previously been able to due to financial restraint. She told us she would use the money to go towards their big launch at Surfest 2020, very exciting!
Next up Hollie spoke. Her mission is to secure a sustainable and bright future for children through education and empowerment. Her company Elamso offers educational experiences such as 10-week programs (for homeschooled students – and within high schools), school excursions and holiday workshops, all of which teach children about planet earth. She wants to create a positive learning environment, making a world where kids know both the value of our natural world and that they are enough. She would use the money to purchase educational resources to captivate children’s imagination, for example science and solar system sets.
And our final finalists to take the stage were two self-proclaimed “jokers.” Michael and Murrie are housemates and musicians who also happen to love board games. Together they have created a game called The Singing Drummer. The Singing Drummer is a rock and roll card game where you must build bands, avoiding the pitfalls of rock and roll, with the one and only singing drummer being the most powerful card in the game. They have been testing and tinkering for some time now and have created a 2-4 player game which is great fun at home or the pub. They currently play on their hand-stamped Officeworks deck of speech cards and would use the money to create an upgrade before they start trying to sell them.
They reached a very close decision, with our first-ever round of 11 votes! We invited surprise guest David to the stage to announce the winner, and he passed the money along to Hollie! We are so excited to see where Elasmo goes and we wish her the best!
Our host remind applicants that applications never expire, so we very well might see them back again at another Awesome Newcastle. Thanks so much to all our amazing finalists and generous judges. Remember, if you’re interested in applying or being a guest board member, check out the pink links.
Thanks for reading and keeping up! We’ll see you next time for October’s Awesome Newcastle!