‘Communities Build Boats; Boats Build Communities’

This is the motto of people all over  the world who’ve built the three hundred St Ayles Skiff boats and the twenty now in Australia.  It makes great sense if you think about it for a minute: it takes team work to build a boat and a team is built through working together to built it.

Diversitat would like to invite you, your friends and your families to be at the next team to build a St Ayles Skiff boat as great community experience that give you an asset to use on Corio Bay and our rivers, as well as in your community days and occasions with others around Victoria and Tasmania.  This is a terrific opportunity for you to draw your community together in a meaningful project that delivers great opportunities for community celebrations. 

You may have heard Peter Doyle present on the St Ayles Skiff initiative at the Diversitat annual general meeting in November last year and on the ABC.  Peter outlined the fun, learning and satisfaction that Geelong’s Iraqi/Syriac and Iranian/Persian communities are having in building the first of the planned ten boats with guidance from members of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club.  These two boats are very nearly finished.  The vision of this project is to be “Pako Festa on water”.  To see ten of these beautiful boats regularly used for multicultural celebrations and festivals as well as for regular exercise on the water at the foot of the Geelong city and showing off the wonderful asset that Geelong’s CALD communities are for the region.   The project has been and outstanding success in strengthening English language skills, trade skills and has brought employment opportunities to the group.  It has also introduced the Syriac families and children to opportunities that are so much part of the fabric of Geelong, such as their participation in the Geelong Gala Parade and the Wooden Boat Festival.  You may also have seen the Syriac boat full of their excited children in this years Pako Festa parade.

Diversitat is seeking interest from communities and individuals who would like to be part of the team that builds the third St Ayles Skiff boat.  The project emphasises the value that the project will have for individual communities but referencing  the the present team of Christian Syriac/Iraqis and Muslim Persian/Iranian emphasised his interest in assembling a team from more than one culture and the benefits that has delivered for all.  The project also very keen to see women and younger people as part of the next team.

While the St Ayles Skiff motto is, “Communities build boats; boats build communities”, the head trainer, Peter, said he’d like to modify that for our Geelong Diversitat project to be,“Communities build boats; boats build communities and links between communities, and festivals to share all while having great fun together while we’re doing it”!

Please contact Cathy Harper at cathy.harper@diversitat.org.au or 5221 6044 for more details