Helping community in practical way

By James Bennett

Dookie father of four John Geddes says building a new cubby house at Dookie Children's Centre has opened his eyes to the need of the community.

The assistant farm manager is building the structure for his project as part of the Fairley Leadership Program.

He said he would learn from his brother Peter's experience — who also completed the program.

Mr Geddes said his instincts about the program being beneficial were correct.

“I’m someone who steps up and has his say and people come to me about things,” he said.

“I thought something like this might put me in better stead to help those people and get more involved in the community while improving my leadership skills for work.”

Mr Geddes said he had used a practical approach to help benefit the Dookie community.

“I’m taking a week off work to build a new cubby house that is more open-plan.

“It will be easier for teachers to enter and interact with children. It will also be suitable for messy play; it won’t matter if they take a bit of mud in there.”

The existing cubby has a traditional design with a small door not suitable for teachers.

“Education, particularly of our young children at kinder age, is so important,” Mr Geddes said.

“It has been highlighted through the program just how important the early development years are to give kids a good start in life. The better we can set them up, the better they’ll be later on.

“The cubby is something the school has wanted for some time and it’s great seeing it become a reality.

``It’s surprising what can be achieved if you’re willing to put the extra work into it.”

Mr Geddes said he wouldn't be able to complete the Fairley Leadership Program without the support of Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

“I’m extremely thankful to Gardiner Dairy Foundation for sponsoring me and giving me this opportunity, which will end up being a real point of change in my life,'' he said.

The Fairley Leadership Program is run by Goulburn Murray Community Leadership and gives people across the Goulburn-Murray region opportunities to develop leadership skills, to explore the major issues facing the region and assist positive change.

Applications are now open until October 25. Visit for more information.