The People You Meet When You Volunteer

Volunteer HappinessThis week is National Volunteers Week in Australia where the theme is Give Happy, Live Happy. This message is about volunteers making a difference to other people’s lives, but also the effect of volunteering on their own well being, by lifting mood and happiness. I volunteer my time with a local group – Harcourt Progress Association, by coordinating the advertising for their monthly newspaper – The Core. This newsletter didn’t exist two years ago and I really enjoy working with the Editor and being part of its growth. The Core is now at 24 pages and features interesting articles, event information, a crossword, local stories & much more.

In my advertising role I get to meet with the paper’s local advertisers and write a profile to showcase their business. In March I met with Mandy Chilcott and wrote about her group exercise classes. Mandy is a career changer, a tree changer, a volunteer and she LOVES being a fitness trainer. Enjoy my article!

Business Update – Castlemaine Group Fitness

Mandy Chilcott is passionate about keeping fit and has found her niche in doing something she loves as a Fitness Instructor. She started taking group fitness classes in her late 20s after a career in veterinary nursing and has never looked back. Mandy is trained with a Certificate IV in Personal Training and Group Exercise Instruction and she has run gym based classes in Melbourne, Bendigo and Castlemaine for 15 years.

Mandy and her husband moved to Barkers Creek from Melbourne five years ago, as an ideal lifestyle choice in raising their two boys and having a strong sense of a community. Mandy enjoys getting involved with the local playgroup, Castlemaine Kindergarten and the Mt Alexander CWA. Mandy also loves to cycle and helps run the Castlemaine Women’s Cycling (CWC) group, where social road and mountain bike rides are organised, plus skills training and family cycling events.

Over the past couple of years Mandy has been running a weekly class at Everyone Health and Fitness up until its recent closure last December. This led to Mandy’s decision to start up the Castlemaine Group Fitness classes in February 2015 at the Old Castlemaine Gaol.

Mandy runs Power Bar and Cross Trainer classes that are designed for all ages and fitness levels. Mandy explains that she “provides options for all exercises, intensity and resistance so that participants can modify the moves to suit their level of fitness and any injuries they may have”. Mandy lists the benefits to her classes as burning calories, improving coordination and agility, raising overall fitness and stamina, developing muscle strength, enhancing bone health and increasing heart and lung capacity.

What a great way to get fit and socialise too. Some people come with friends or make new ones, with many meeting up for a coffee at The Gov afterwards.

I went along the Cross Trainer class which is run on a Friday morning. This particular class provides a great cardio vascular workout. Thinking back, I hadn’t done aerobics since the days of leotards, electric blue lycra and head bands! Mandy’s class was fantastic and I managed to keep up with the steps, including grapevine, lunges and double hops. At $10 it’s affordable, especially without having to commit to a membership. It was not intimidating and some of the participants brought kids who played happily in the corner.

Mandy says the Power Bar (similar to Body Pump) is a popular class where she runs three session a week, noting that the Saturday class fills up quickly, so turn up early for this one!

Genevieve Ward