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2018 – a brand New Year for you, for me, for Mature Mob! Way back in May 2011 a group of folk from Cooma and the surrounding communities boarded a 20-seater bus and headed to Adaminaby and Cabramurra for the inaugural Mature Mob trip. This community outreach initiative of the Cooma Monaro Anglican Church was to grow in strength and numbers. December saw the final trip for 2017 with a 57 seater coach full (plus a car with four more!) heading north for adventures in Canberra and Michelago. The composition of the group varies as it is ‘firstin/ first-served’. Overall, there are now over 250 contacts  that have been made through Mature Mob. Over the years Heather Jauncey has coordinated the group and, with her small band of helpers, has arranged the necessary administration, the venues, morning teas, lunches and coach travel. The success of this Christian outreach activity is given to God’s Glory. Heather is honoured and privileged to serve God and the Mobbers.

The ‘motto’ of Mature Mob has grown to be ‘Fun, Fellowship and Education’.

The Coach is abuzz with happy faces, chatter and light-hearted banter as folk share their stories and experiences of past trips and of their activities during the preceding months. The Lolly Buckets have become special coach treats, as have thought-provoking competitions (with of course prizes!) relating to the day’s activity. The morning teas and lunches (provided by CWA groups, Hospital Auxiliaries, Community Groups and Churches at minimal cost) are enjoyable highlights. Of special mention are the Christmas Lunches and hosts have excelled in presenting delicious spreads and themed decorations!

Mobbers come from many walks of life and backgrounds. Harking back to construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme in the 1950s, the Cooma area is rich in multicultural and multidenominational aspects, and for some – no religious connection. But there is genuine communication and interest between folk, and through this a genuine caring has developed further between folk who previously did not know each other.

They enjoy relaxing on the coach; relaxing on the grass listening to a Special Recital at the Canberra Carillon; relaxing while sitting listening to an educational talk such as that at the Micro-Brewery on the Monaro or hearing the history of Burnima Homestead near Bombala; relaxing over morning tea and lunch at the various venues on the day trips to the Monaro, Canberra, the High Country and the NSW Far South Coast area.

Threaded throughout all trips is the theme of education. Almost all programs feature Talks and Tours of the venue – ‘Behind the scenes’ of Canberra Airport; Tidbinbilla Space Centre; Whale Museum at Eden; ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Mt Stromlo, Canberra; Bega Pioneer Museum; SES and RFS Control Centres, Cooma; Fedra Olive Grove, Collector; Snow-Making Facility, Thredbo – to name but a very few! Folk are seniors, retired people who have the time to do the trips but who are still very keen and eager to learn and to share their knowledge in a thoughtful way.

Woven into all trips is a short, apt Christian devotion usually presented by the Parish Rector, Lance Lawton. Church members from the Parish are encouraged to attend, sit and mingle with members from the community. The introduction of name tags for the day has been very helpful for direct communication. Saying hello to someone using their name is a first step key to conversation.

But the most important factor is that of caring. Many  comments have been heard that Mature Mob trips are ‘different’, in a positive way, to other community-organised excursions. Why, folk can’t identify other than ‘it has something extra’!

by Heather Jauncey
MM Coordinator, Cooma Monaro Anglican Church