Canberra Walking Festival: An International Community

An Interns Diary by Breanna Minisini

This year the Canberra Walking Festival (CWF) was held on Saturday 7th April to Sunday 8th April 2018. I was given the opportunity to be an intern for this event, along with 5 other interns and many other dedicated volunteers. CWF proudly supports the Heart Foundation.

The Canberra Walking Festival has been running, or should I say walking, for 27 years and was first started by Harry and Kathleen Berg and the event is now managed by Diana Marshall. This year, Albert Hall was chosen as the new venue for the festival; the location is in a prime position, less than 3km from the civic centre and surrounded by popular Canberra tourist attractions such as Parliament House, Old Parliament House, Questacon and many more.

The Canberra Walking Festival is associated with other organisations, such as The International Marching League (IML) and the Internationaler Volkssport Verband/International Federation of Popular Sports (IVV). These organisations promote walking, being active, exploring and making friends. The IML and IVV also provide members with information about other walks that occur all around the world. It is interesting to note that Canberra is the only location in Australia that gets the opportunity to host an IML event.

Through out my time interning, I was introduced to so many kind people. Walkers who participated came from Canberra, other parts of Australia and from overseas. I chose this internship as I was interested to understand why these people took part in events such as this. During the two days I spoke to many walkers about the different walking festivals they had participated in around the world. I discovered that many did these walks annually while exploring the countries they walked in, and by doing this were also able to meet locals and make friends internationally.

Walkers enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and since it was not a competition, the walk created opportunities for them to more genuinely interact with a variety of other walkers having similar interests. Walkers said that taking part in such events provides them with a sense of accomplishment and adventure. When walking around Albert Hall on the last day, I met two people who were participating in the walk called Tony and Tina. While they had never met before, they came to realise they had both walked in Nijmegen.

This CWF brings together walkers from all over the world to take part in something that is healthy for both the body and soul. How many opportunities do you get to say you walked with a university lecturer from Germany on the weekend?

The festival’s group of volunteers helped to make both myself and fellow interns feel extremely welcomed. Some of these volunteers have been returning year after year for this event. Many of the volunteers I spoke to said that one of the highlights of the event was about the friends they had made and that it felt nice to do something good for others. During the two days, I spoke with Anne who told me it was her first year volunteering. Anne told me she joined to learn about the heritage of Canberra and how she enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and said “it’s a shared spirit of doing something with and for other people”. While the more and more volunteers I spoke to all had there own reasons for coming back, all agreed the community feeling of the event was their main reason.

In being given an opportunity to go on one of the walks, I was able to explore places and artwork in Canberra that I had never seen in my 4 years of living here. I was able to speak with many people from different parts of the world that I would otherwise never would have had the chance chance to meet without this event. My favorite part about the festival was the amazing volunteers. I felt very much a part of an international community, because that is the feeling this amazing festival gives you; it gives you the chance to explore the beauty of this capital city, to be active, to meet other people and to also do something for a good cause.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Join us next year:

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *