Member of the Week - Will Parish - NSW Nationals

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Member of the Week - Will Parish

At only 23, Will has a resume most can only dream of. Already a Kokoda Track and Everest Base Camp veteran, Will is a born-and-bred Orange boy with a big future ahead of him – personally and with the National Party.

Will first became involved with the Party after meeting Andrew Gee, Member for Calare at a local Relay for Life – a fundraising event where participants walk up to 24 hours to raise funds for the Cancer Council. It was a simple chat that led to Andrew dropping off a membership form to Will the next day.

“Since then, I haven’t looked back.”

An individual who has always relished being involved and giving back to his community, Will first became involved in leadership roles through the Duke of Edinburgh Program at James Sheahan Catholic High School in Orange where he was the first student in his school’s history to be awarded the Gold Duke of Edinburg Award.

This achievement saw him named Young Citizen of the Year for Orange in 2013 and lead to the opportunity to hike the gruelling Kokoda Track as a mentor for disadvantaged Aboriginal teenagers. The arduous task of hiking 100km of jungle challenged himself and his young charges but it was an experience he saw they really responded to. Will nominates it as one of the highlights of his long involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh program. Will also liaises with film-maker Michael Dillon – the first Australian to receive Gold in their Duke of Edinburgh Award – who films many of his exploits, including his trip to Everest Base Camp in 2015.

Will somehow finds time for a day job, being the resident builder and safety officer for the Orange Ex-Services Club, working with contractors and maintaining council infrastructure such as the greenhouse facilities. He also uses his trade skills overseas, working for charities in Nepal after the devastating earthquakes.

Will is the Vice-Chair of the Orange Branch and also one of its youngest members. When it comes to the Nats, it is the social aspect that Will values, with the ability to socialise with elected representatives one day, and develop policy the next a dynamic that keeps him engaged with the Party. He believes that more young people would join if they realised the opportunity for interaction with political leaders that being a Nat brings, but admits that most of his peers are “pretty casual” when it comes to politics. He would like to see more tradies and small businesses owners in the Party, particularly with our current leader John Barilaro being a carpenter or ‘chippy’ by trade.

Ever the adventurer, Will is currently training to ascend Mera Peak in the Himalayas during October, a 6,654m peak which affords a view of five if the six highest peaks in the world. The ascent is currently poorly documented, so Will plans to film and blog about his one month experience, meaning he will be making the climb with several cameras and filming equipment, on top of the usual mountaineering pack-requirements – a challenging task for even experienced climbers. The ascent isn’t recommended for anyone who doesn’t have at least the fitness to handle Mt Kilimanjaro, an African peak which still claims 10 a year and 1,000 evacuations.

Will plans to attend Central Regional Conference held later this year in Orange, where he would be happy to discuss his hiking adventure with anyone who is interested. He says to drop him an email at will.parish@live.com.au if you’d like more information or links to his previous adventures.

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