It is not every day that you encounter a member of the Royal Family, but Oak Possability staff and clients recently had the privilege of doing just that, when His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex visited the state in April.
Prince Edward visited Tasmania as part of his Australian visit to attend the Commonwealth Games and promote the Duke of Edinburgh Award , of which he is a patron.
The Award is a youth development program for 14-24 year olds who complete activities in areas such as volunteering, skill and physical recreation as part of a personal challenge to test their own persistence and achievements. We are currently the only disability provider in Tasmania to offer the Award program, which has largely been coordinated by Southern Service Planner Karita Casimaty. With her history in co-ordinating the Award program, Karita was approached to address guests at a formal dinner with the Prince at Government House in support of the Award.
Karita delivered an inspiring speech about the journey of participants in the program, excerpt below:
“I am in awe of the progress and accomplishments of the participants that I support. There is a noticeable difference in everyone’s confidence, willingness to try new and different tasks, and a comradery between everyone. Their self-belief and self-worth has grown exponentially, and they now understand that the possibilities in life are endless, and if they have the right support and training anything is possible.”
The following morning, clients also had the opportunity for a royal encounter when the Prince visited St Aloysius College to meet Duke of Edinburgh Award participants. As part of a small group selected to display at the meet and greet, several clients met and chatted to the Prince about their achievements.
Karita said that the award participants were proud to share their experiences and very excited to meet a member of the royal family.
“It was a great experience with the participants, definitely memories to last a lifetime!”
Rounding out the royal events, CEO Drew Beswick attended a luncheon at Government House honouring the Prince’s visit. Hosted by Governor Kate Warner and Mr Warner, the Prince was in attendance, as well as Premier Will Hodgman and a dozen other guests.
Drew said that the luncheon was a fantastic experience and that people love hearing stories from Oak Possability.
“We believe in a world where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their potential, so it was a privilege to be able to share that at an intimate gathering with Prince Edward, and a great opportunity to celebrate our client’s achievements.”