Touch of Colour is one of my favourite days of the year (it’s a mix of pride in our team pulling off another great tournament, and being part of a community that goes above and beyond for KidsXpress and the support they provide to kids at risk. It was a cracking day, with over 400 attending in the stunning sunshine.
It’s a great opportunity to come together as friends and industry colleagues. It’s about meeting new people and the shared belief in the power of the greater good to make lives better.
Most importantly, it’s about raising awareness and much-needed funds for KidsXpress.
KidsXpress is a mental health charity helping transform the lives of children impacted by adversity. It provides trauma-informed Expressive Therapy for kids under 12; and education services for those who care for them. By strengthening the emotional wellbeing of children and building the capacity of their caregivers, this special organisation helps create a future that all children deserve.
The evening before last week’s event, we had a get-together with the GSA team just to talk about KidsXpress; why we do it, and the difference it makes. One of GSA’s core beliefs is the importance of doing for the greater good.
Margo Ward is the Founder and CEO of KidsXpress. She has been part of our lives (and important part of my life, and my family’s) for 18 years. I met Margo back in 2004 when I joined GSA, Paul Hines had recently employed me, and was talking to Margo about following her dream to create this charity.
From day dot, me starting at GSA, I felt a connection to Margo and her dream to help kids when they need it most. I was motivated by Paul’s commitment to foster and grow something because it was the right thing to do.
What started out as 3 people discussing how to raise some funds is now wholly owned by GSA people, who always contribute, whether it’s salary sacrifice or doing things outside of work to raise needed funds for KidsXpress. The commitment GSA people make to delivering another stellar Touch of Colour event is humbling, and reminds me that we all can (and should) make a difference.
We wanted to do something different to support the cause. We started with a cricket tournament at North Sydney Oval, a phenomenal day but only available to a small group, and not that inclusive to the whole industry, so we needed to rethink our approach. Frank Puletua, Margo and I came up with the idea of hosting a touch football competition, open to everyone, not just elite sports people. More people could participate, to have a great day, be part of a community, and support a charity.
We launched the first Touch of Colour event at Allianz stadium, an incredible experience which set the bar for what we wanted to achieve. It grabbed the interest of the Insurance industry. In the spirit of coming together as a community we wanted to find somewhere more intimate, a home for Touch of Colour.
A couple of years ago we found a new venue, that has become our home. We truly love playing at Easts Rugby, it’s just perfect. With a first-class ground and facilities we need when we have 400 people running around, it lets us all engage, play and watch the footy, and enjoy the fun. The staff are so supportive and accommodating in allowing us to host Touch of Colour here, it just works.
Yes, Touch of Colour is about having a great time running around the place. There’s always a bit of competition (actually a lot of competition!) and a pretty good standard when it gets to the Finals. It’s a competition people to want to win – people do want that Trophy on display in Reception, and I like that, I really do. I think it’s important to have that respect and camaraderie between the teams, and the competitive aspect of it makes the day.
It says a lot about our industry that we’re competitive, but we care and do what we can to improve the lives of others.
It's a day where there’s a thousand Thank You’s to everyone involved. That there are so many people who do something to create a create an event, experience and outcome says a lot about what a community can do.
Even a small donation can make a huge difference to a child’s future.
You probably get by now what this means a lot to me. To be able to support the charity as we do, ticking a Million Dollars in funds raised over the last 9 years to support kids in need (and I think the support this year will go well beyond that, to over $1.2 Million) when we really didn’t think it would, is an amazing achievement, is something I’m very proud of.
The support that we’ve had from the industry has been phenomenal. I couldn’t be prouder of where we are now.