In Moranbah where community bonds are strong and genuine, Amanda Raymond embodies community dedication and leadership. Her many contributions, ranging from her support for the Girl Guides to her role as President of Moranbah Arts, are a testament to her commitment.
“I’ve always wanted to live in a place where I could wave to everyone on the street. That’s the spirit you find here,” said Amanda.
“I’ve been involved with Girl Guides since I was a child in Groote Eylandt. Then when I moved here in 2002, I just sort of haven’t left it. It’s been nearly 15 years between Moranbah and Dysart, being a Girl Guide Leader.”
Now leading a diverse group of 35 young girls ranging from prep to grade ten, Amanda said they do a bit of everything. From teaching outdoor cooking to fostering resilience, Amanda and her dedicated team teach the girls important skills with a strong focus on community involvement.
“We focus a lot on community activities. They help with Anzac Day and cleaning up rubbish. We also do a lot of arts and outdoor activities. We try to give them a well-rounded experience,” she said.
Amanda’s guiding philosophy for Girl Guides isn’t just about the activities they undertake but more about instilling a sense of autonomy and resilience in the girls.
“We let them do things themselves, only coming to us when there’s an issue. This approach not only fosters a sense of independence in the girls but also promotes problem-solving and critical thinking.”
As the President of Moranbah Arts, Amanda has been the driving force behind numerous arts initiatives, projects, and cultural events. Under her leadership the group has brought numerous theatrical performances to life with the musical ‘Grease’ being their latest offering.
The production involved both primary and high school students from Moranbah and garnered significant attention. Another highly anticipated musical performance is also in the works, details of which remain under wraps, adding to the community’s growing curiosity. Additionally, whispers of a diva event have caught the town’s attention, promising a spectacular showcase of talent and glamor planned for later in the year.
Beyond staging performances Amanda has been instrumental in expanding the infrastructure of Moranbah Arts. One of her most ambitious projects involved connecting two community buildings, Moranbah Arts and Moranbah Darts, effectively doubling the venue’s capacity. This expansion not only facilitates larger productions but also serves as a hub for artists and creatives to collaborate, learn and showcase their talents. Under her guidance the organisation has also conducted workshops, art exhibitions and collaborates with local schools to promote art education.
“It’s more than just about putting on shows,” Amanda explained. “Moranbah Arts is a platform where local talents can be nurtured and where the community can come together to celebrate our shared cultural heritage.”
However, as with any community venture challenges abound.
“We need more than just applause, we need money,” Amanda stated candidly as she highlighted the importance of financial support to keep the arts alive in Moranbah. Both not-for-profits are in dire need of funding for improvements. Older infrastructures and the rising costs of maintenance have become burdens. Yet Amanda remains optimistic.
“All our buildings are old. We need to stay ahead of maintenance and any donations will greatly help us continue our work. It will keep the lights on and ensure that the community has a place to come together.
“We are all volunteers… we help everyone. Whether we’re providing a venue or loaning out equipment, it’s about supporting community groups and doing our bit. I am all about creating a space where everyone feels included and art is a beautiful medium to achieve that.”
Amanda’s story is a testament to the power of community spirit. Her passion, whether it’s guiding young girls towards independence or advocating for the rich tapestry of arts and culture in Moranbah, leaves a mark on everyone she interacts with.
Moranbah is not just a home to Amanda, it’s a canvas on which she paints her dreams and aspirations. In every act of kindness, every performance staged, and every girl that stands tall with confidence, Amanda’s legacy as a true “Community Champion” shines.