Rosie’s combining her love for trekking and her desire to raise critical funds for Australian Childhood Foundation in this year’s Trek for Childhood
Trek for Childhood raises awareness and funds for the valuable work Australian Childhood Foundation does in supporting children in need.
This October, nine brave and generous individuals, including Order of Australia officer, Australian Childhood Foundation Patron and seasoned trekker, Rosie Batty AO, will take part in a journey to help provide life-changing healing and support for children and young people across Australia.
Together, this team of individuals are currently in training to be ready to challenge themselves on a 6-day 63km+ trek across the iconic Overland Track in Tasmania. They will be exploring the highest places in Tasmania, across rugged and stunning terrain, sharing the track with like-minded adventurers knowing they are doing their bit to raise vital funds to provide much-needed direct support for children, young people and their families.
We recently sat down with Rosie to discuss her motivations for getting involved in Trek, her training regime and her experience as Patron.
Australian Childhood Foundation (A): Why did you get involved in Trek for Childhood?
Rosie Batty (R): Combining what I love to do more than anything, which is trekking, with raising money for a charity is an ideal way of combining what I love to do with the things I believe in.
A: What has been one of your favourite hikes you’ve been on?
R: I’ve been on quite a few in the last few years, it’s difficult to pick one, but I guess the coast-to-coast walk in the UK was memorable. It was the first time I had really done a big trek like that and took 22 days and I really didn’t want it to end. It went from one side of England to the other side.
A: Why do you think it is important to raise awareness for the Foundation?
R: I think certainly all organisations that work with children do important work and Australian Childhood Foundation is a national organisation that does brilliant work with children that have experienced abuse and neglect. To potentially change the trajectory of a child’s life is an incredibly important thing to be able to do. That’s very critical, so it’s very easy to support this wonderful organisation because of the critical and important work you do with children.
A: What are you hoping to achieve with your Trek?
R: Whether you’ve already been in an area, there are always new areas to discover when trekking. Everywhere you go is scenically beautiful and the space and time that you take really connect you with yourself and the environment. It’s a lovely time to spend quality time with like-minded people.
So, what I’m hoping to get from this trek is absorbing myself in the beautiful scenery, grounding myself as I get up everyday and the only thing you’ve got to do that day is get up and to the next place you will pitch the tent. That really nourishes my spirit and doing it to raise money and build awareness for the Foundation, gives the meaning of why you’re doing it. Those things combined really lift your spirits and really remind you of what your life purpose is and what’s important to you in your life. It gives you time for reflection. So, it's those things I will find myself experiencing. And challenging my fitness, that is why preparation is so important. Also, that physical tiredness at the end of the day when you sleep so well, it’s really good for you on many levels.
A: What is your current training regime?
R: Over the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve been building up into a regular attendee at my local Pilates studio. So, I do reformer Pilates 3 times a week which I’ve begun to really enjoy and seen the changes to my physic and strength. Pilates helps you strengthen your core which helps you with your walking. I also walk my dogs everyday which isn’t an awful lot of intense exercise, but it is movement and on weekends I do walk on the beach and do about 10kms. I also have a personal trainer that I see once a week. I’ve just purchased a weight vest that I will wear as often as I can and on my personal training sessions so that I can be more equipped and ready to carry my pack – which is my main source of concern!
A: Any advice you’d give to Trekkers for their preparation?
R: The fitter you are the more you have done regular walking will be helpful, we’re going to be doing on average at least 10km a day which is not huge but obviously, we’ll be walking up and down. Trekking poles are a great asset and can really help you, particularly going downhill or on uneven surfaces. So, a good set of trekking poles you’ve gotten used to while training, is a really good idea. I think building up a regular walking routine so that you are well accustomed to walking is important and so critical to also have the right clothing and to have your boots worn in. There is nothing worse than blisters and ill-fitting boots. So, they are a huge investment, and they need to be well fitted and good quality. You need to wear them in a month or two before you go so they fit like gloves, and you are used to the feel and texture. Your boots and having the right clothing are important. Carrying your pack makes trekking a lot harder and I think that is something to really consider. How are you going to build that into your routine? I’ve been doing that with my personal trainer with a weighted vest. It was very heavy when I picked it up from the post office and I’ll be wearing that regularly so by the time I am on the walk I’ll be throwing the backpack onto my shoulders as if it’s nothing.
A: You will be trekking during this year’s national Children’s Week. The theme is ‘All Children have the right to a standard of living that supports their wellbeing and healthy development’, what does this mean to you?
R: It’s great when we have a week to remember and remind us about children but it it’s outside of that week that we also really need to recognise that children are often very much overlooked and not part of decisions and the challenges that we constantly face. So, it’s a really important week to remind people and to put place critical pressure on those in decision-making positions that children are an incredibly important part of our future and the future of the world we want it to be.
A: What is your experience as a Patron of Australian Childhood Foundation?
R: Being a Patron of Australian Childhood Foundation gives me immense pride. The Foundation does such critical work, and the teams are so qualified and skilled in the work that they do. That for myself being able to contribute in this way makes me feel very privileged, that this is my contribution, something that I can bring to help you with this critical work. So that’s how I see my role as a Patron and how I can support you or be useful. And to use my skills and influence in the best ways I can to amplify your work and that is what I see as my role.
A: What has been a highlight of being a Patron?
R: I think Trek is going to be a definite highlight. I think there are things that I’ve been able to do, fundraising events that I've been able to be a part of that have been great opportunities to meet nice people and to see the generosity and commitment that many organisations have in the support of the Foundation. It’s hard to think of a particular event. I do enjoy meeting people and being part of something. The Target campaign was more recent around Mother's Day was really enjoyable, a great team of people, really like-minded and passionate about the campaign. I felt like I was able to contribute in an enjoyable and impactful way. And that campaign was really successful from what I understand.
A: What impact has the being a Patron had on you?
R: I feel very honoured that an organisation like Australian Childhood Foundation sees the value in me in being a Patron, I find that a real honour and privilege. So, I think that has helped me have a sense of self-confidence and belief in myself. If people value me in this way, it helps remind me sometimes when I’m not sure which direction my life is heading that this is something that I can contribute to in a meaningful way. Restores my confidence and faith in what I’m able to do and contribute.
A: What would you like to do more of as a Patron?
R: I trust the organisation to reach out to me when they think I can be an asset to what they’re wanting to do. I think that is the great relationship I have with Australian Childhood Foundation - I'm here to sit in the wings and to come in close with the opportunity is right.
But I would love to be able to do another one of these Treks, so let’s say if this was an annual thing that would be brilliant, but we’ll have to get this one done first. I’d love to be able to be involved in other work the foundation is doing. We don’t always know what is around the corner with new partnerships and relationships. It's nice to meet staff and feel a sense of belonging.