December 2017, my son, mentioned that he and a few mates were going to do a 450km relay ski over 3 days from Murray Bridge to Renmark. At the time, I thought that it may be fun so I asked if they needed a ‘Roady’ to drive the back-up vehicle.
March, 2018, I arrived at Murray Bridge, with the Ski 4 T team, still a little unsure of what to expect, while setting up our camp a bloke wandered over with a beer – “Gidday, I’m Bill Stockman, I started this show”. I realised early that everyone was there for a reason, supporting a mate or having felt the presence of the ‘blackdog’. It was good to talk openly about mental health and suicide, its prevention, its domino effect on all and the need to be there and have the conversation – Are you Ok?
I was nominated for the position of Vice Chairperson at the AGM in 2018, a position I still hold, now supporting our Chairperson, Mark Facy. I am also a member of the grants committee. Being a member of the Ski for Life family gives me the opportunity to help remove the stigma attached to mental health, wellbeing, and suicide prevention by participating, fundraising, having conversations and supporting rural and remote communities.
Over the past 4 years I have held a number of positions within the committee and as a family we have participated in the water ski event during the March long weekend from Murray Bridge to Renmark. This year we see Ski for Life enter its 10th year and together with the hard working committee, we will continue to drive the legacy of Mr Bill Stockman and the founding families of Ski for Life organisation.
In 2017 I attended a fundraising event organised by the Watt's Up ski team in Mount Gambier and it was from that moment that I realised I wanted to be more than just a participant in the organisation. So in 2018 our family put together a ski team and we join the water ski relay from Murray Bridge to Renmark, from there we have continued our involvement in Ski for Life. As a result of the event, through the hard work of our ski team's fundraising and community support, we are now in a position where we are distributing funds through projects of work which Ski for Life is proud to take to rural and remote communities addressing this horrendous issue we have around mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention. It is this that continues to drive me and our committee as we combine our love of water skiing and delivering support to these areas .
This year I have taken over the Chairman's role from Jane Kellock and have the privilege of leading our committee into its 10th year of Ski for Life.
My family decided to be involved in Ski for Life after we saw the event ski into Waikerie and thought we would love to be involved as we all enjoyed to ski long the river and meet new friends along the way. We have now been a part of this event for the past 5 years and keep coming back.
I joined the committee 4 years ago on the grants sub committee. Over the years, the event has grown and I have now been the Treasure of Ski for Life for the past 3 years. Every year, I am blown away with the amount of support and sponsorship this event receives and feel proud to give money back to the community who are seeking our help.
My family love water skiing and spending time on the river and mental health and wellbeing is something that really resonates with me at my core and the opportunity to be involved in such a great volunteer organisation that is raising funds and helping support initiatives across our regional communities that promote mental health and wellbeing is very heart warming and a real honour to be involved in.⠀
I am just entering my second year on the committee this year and I hold the role of Secretary.⠀
I am a new member to the Ski for Life committee having only joined this year. I am champion of the Merchandise and am here to assist the Social Media and Registrations team when needed.
It was my husband’s idea to get involved in the Ski for Life event and we have taken part the last two years. We unfortunately lost one of our best friends to a mental health battle 3 years ago and we wanted to do something to honour him. We love the river and water skiing so this was the perfect fit and something he also would have loved. What an amazing organisation we are now apart of. In the two years we have entered Ski for Life our team alone has raised over $37,500 and have almost doubled our team size with kids on board skiing now too.
I think when it comes to mental health, it touches everyone, in one way or another and together as a united front we can break the stigma around mental health. Being a member of the Ski for Life committee is something I am very passionate about and it provides me with an opportunity to make a difference in mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention which is our mission.
My Dad first mentioned Ski for Life a few years ago, being avid water-skiers it appealed to us greatly, but it wasn't until the end of 2020 that we decided to get a team together and participate in the 2021 event.
I knew Ski for Life put a strong emphasis on educating individuals about mental health, it wasn't until after participating in my first event that I got to fully appreciate the impact it has. To help organise an event that had a big impact on me so quickly was something I couldn't wait to be part of.
This is my first year on the committee. I am currently helping with organising the accommodation and food for the event.
Website + Communications
After first hearing about and being involved in the 2020 event, both myself and Kayla (another, new committee member) decided we would like to be involved not only in future SkiforLife events, but also in becoming a part of raising awareness and support for mental health in the community. As a high school teacher, I see daily the value in educating young adults on what mental health is, how it can be managed and the vast range of people who are affected. It was my obvious love for the river that drew me to the event in the first place, now realising its significance as a part of my own mental health journey.
This is my first year on the committee and I am currently assisting with the social media and upgrading the website.
Social Media & Marketing
After my Dad and one of my brothers came back from Ski for Life 2018, hearing their stories, the memories and the new friendships they had made, we knew straight away this was something our family needed to be apart of. So the following year our whole family along with some friends and extending family we entered our own team! The event was unlike anything I had ever been involved in before.. I am not much of a skier myself in fact my 3 siblings and I all learnt how to ski on our first Ski For Life trip in 2019!
For me it was more than just the skiing, it was the lifetime friendships formed in just 3 days, the incredible moving stories you hear and just a while lot of fun! This is now a weekend I look forward and is easily the highlight my year
At the end of my first trip I knew I wanted to become more involved and join the committee. This is now my 3rd year on the committee, having had a few roles over those 3 years I am currently running the social media channels and helping with the management of the website.
After watching the event take place in 2018 I thought it was a great opportunity to grab a bunch of mates to push our busted up not so athletic bodies all for a great cause and participate in the 2019 event.
After the 2019 event I joined the committee and have been a part of arranging the logistics for the 2020 and 2021 events (as well as skiing the 456 km in 2021) and now on to logistics for the upcoming 2022 event.
My current role in the committee is Logistics Coordinator so I am responsible for coordinating all things on the water from maps, schedules, permits, lock times, transport, briefings and road crews
I first heard about the Ski For Life event while watching a TV show on the ABC, Bill Stockman was talking about mental health, he explained that along with help from his family and friends he had a charity that water-skied 456km along the Murray River, raising money and awareness for Mental Health and suicide prevention.
As a family we love spending time on the water water-skiing, We love the Murray River and mental health struggles have touched our family, so we decided we would give it a go.
Initially we were along for the adventure, how great to spend time with family & friends, water-skiing and camping along the Mighty Murray River, all while raising money and awareness. The water-skiing and camping adventure was everything we hoped for but it was evident that the event was so more more right from the first morning all the teams met at Sturt Reserve to get the event under way!! We had a great time on our first event, after our first Ski For life event we all agreed this will continue to be something we do with family and friends for many years to come
Sponsorships and Marketing
I first learnt about Ski For Life in March 2018 when I happened to be in Renmark visiting my parents, swimming at Jane Eliza with my daughter. I could hear the roar of excitement from the cheering downstream at the Renmark Club as the skiers arrived for their grand finale. At the time I didn’t realise what it was. Being a skier and having grown up in Renmark it seemed like a great opportunity to become involved in a charity with a great cause. In Feb 2019 I emailed Ski For Life and asked how I could be involved in the next event. I turned up on the first day not knowing anyone and had the privilege of participating in all activities of the event including skiing with the Ski For T teams, flying with Ski Spy Bob and providing support to the committee throughout the event. I was hooked! What a terrific cause and for me, a fantastic way to spend a weekend fulfilling my personal passions and sharing community spirit with like minded people who are committed to raising awareness and promoting well being, mental health & suicide prevention.
Aside from the skiing, our purpose and the heartfelt, beautiful remembrance ceremony at Cadell, there are so many great fun activities that go along with this event. The refreshment breaks and the food…..oooohh the food! The stories shared around the dinner camp at night time, the auction night, the honour & humour of wearing a tutu (okay I have had to wear that twice!!) and of course the Lock activity where all water guns (and hoses) come into play. It is such incredible fun and the comradery is second to none. It is addictive and I simply love it !
I have been on the committee for the past 2 years and my role is to promote the event through media, publicity and partnerships. The sponsor/media boat participates in the entire course and is host to sponsors, media and our community partners as well as providing opportunity to skiers that want to do short runs. We have had tremendous support from and have hosted South Aussie with Cosi, Murray Pioneer & Radio 5RM as well as community and event partners. Roll on 2022, our 10th year – can’t wait!
The much smaller Ski For Life ‘family’ reached out for support after their second event realising that raising awareness can also impact on those who have lived experience of ill mental health, suicidal thoughts or a loss to suicide. Their enquiries led them to StandBy which was very new to South Australia at that time. I joined the third event with about 20 participants and have been involved ever since then including the most recent event with 26 boats and 290 participants.
I have been involved in Ski for Life for the past 7 events as the ‘professional support’ but have been involved in the Committee for the past four years. My current role of Professional Support means providing information, advice and emotional support where required both in the planning of and during the event....
I first got involved in Ski For Life 6 years ago by joining the event as a participant and fell in love immediately with what it gives to the communities and the message it sends. A weekend down the river with good friends, amazing food and plenty of drinks, could this event get any better…. I have not missed a year since !!!
Being a young adult male, mental health and suicide awareness has had a big effect on my life unfortunately and statistics tell this is by no accident. After a close friend took his own life at the start of 2020, I wanted to step up even more and thus joined the Ski For Life committee.
This is my second year on the committee, helping the event planning and logistics. If you come along to Ski For Life 2022, you will most likely find me with the merch van, getting everyone kitted out....