Mt Gambier Senior Citizen of the Year, Alan Warden.
Mt Gambier’s Senior Citizen of the Year, Alan ‘Woody’ Warden has been a Scout leader in Mount Gambier for 34 years, acting as a role model and mentor to thousands of young people in the community.
Mr Warden was named among the city’s 2021 Australia Day Award winners.
“Originally it was something to do, but it grows on you and the kids grow on you too,” Alan said.
“If I give a kid a piece of rope to tie a knot and they can’t do it and if I sit there and show them how to do it and they end up doing it, the smile on their face is worth $1 million. It’s just a great feeling to have the privilege of helping someone learn.”
Alan is known for his dedication to scouting and works tirelessly to ensure local youths have the best possible experience, often assisting other scout groups within the region as the need arises.
“I am now mentoring the children of previous youth members so I must have done something right to bring them back.”
“When you see that the kids are doing well and achieving, it’s nice to know that I had something to do with that.”
The former boilermaker would often take unpaid leave from work to attend scouting jamborees in Sydney, Adelaide, Elmore and Special Needs Camp in Victoria.
“I am retired now, but I haven’t got any time to do anything as I’ve been working for Scouts,” he joked.
For the past 20 years Alan has organised scout participation in the annual ANZAC Day street march in conjunction with the RSL and assisted with local events and activities including the annual Christmas Parade, Generations in Jazz and the Fringe Festival.
“This is my town and I’m proud of it. Somebody has to do it, if you can’t help, you can’t sit there and complain about what is going on.”
The 76-year-old also enjoys helping out on the gate at the Borderline Speedway.
“I do it because I want to do it, not because I have to.”
Alan says he was shocked to learn that he had been awarded Senior Citizen of the Year, but was honoured to receive the award.
“I thought it was a joke and luckily I was sitting down. These sorts of things never happen to me, they happen to someone else. I’m not looking for recognition, but it’s nice to get it.”
Mt Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said the awards recognise individuals and organisations that have made a noteworthy contribution during the past year, and/or provided outstanding service over many years, to the local community.
“It is so important to recognise the members of our community who go above and beyond normal employment duties and dedicate their precious personal time to give back to our city in a myriad of ways,” Mayor Martin said.
The Australia Day Awards are administered by local government authorities throughout the State on behalf of the Australia Day Council of South Australia.
The City of Mount Gambier Australia Day breakfast and awards presentation will be held at the Cave Garden on Tuesday 26 January from 7:30am.
The entertainment lineup includes local musicians Trish Thompson, Isac Bruggemann, Gabriel Strachan and Strings Attached.
Breakfast will be available for purchase from Lakes Rotary Club with all proceeds to go to Foodbank and Sunset Kitchen. Prizes will be provided for the best dressed Australian outfit.
The official flag raising and awards ceremony will begin at 9:15am.
As part of the COVID safe plan, all attendees are required to sign in at one of four entry points.