Last month, we held our first ever Black-Tie Fundraiser here in Albury. The 200-capacity event was sold out and truly was, an amazing night. I was well aware of how the night would play out- I knew the speaker’s themes, I had viewed the videos of the kids that would be shown, and I had (kind of) prepared my speech (in my head anyway).
When I walked into the Auditorium with my wife and saw the 200-strong crowd I was immediately a little choked up. Everyone was dressed to impress, and I almost felt lost among so many faces, some familiar but many unfamiliar. “What are they all doing here?”
It has been difficult to find the time to stop and reflect upon what has been created with BttB. But I was soon to find a time to reflect was all but upon me (whether I liked it or not).
As the night progressed, speeches were given and each time I again, felt that frog in my throat. I was definitely taking deep breaths and wondering how I was ever going to keep it together for my speech/yarn. Between courses/speeches the crowd were introduced to some short clips of some ex/current participants sharing their experiences with BttB. That bloody frog in my throat was not going away!
At last, it was my turn to get up. As I left my table, I said to my mate beside me “I’m going to be bloody hopeless here…” I started my speech, and it was all going fine… For about 7 seconds. Then my emotions got the better of me and I was pretty much a blubbering mess. I’m still unsure if the people in attendance understood what the hell, I was going on about? This was one of the first real times I thought to myself: “Holy Crap… Look what we have done!” (not the ideal time though)
I was fortunate enough to have my 2 co-founders and great mates, on stage beside me and I’m sure they understood why I struggled so much. We never intended to create something that would touch the lives of the now, thousands of kids each year and we certainly did not initially think we would have employees pushing close to 100 across 6 locations all within 5 years.
The one thing that has surprised us more than anything else is the connection and ‘buy in’ we have had from the general public in each of our amazing communities. We are approached everyday with offers of support from people who genuinely see benefit in what we do and want to do their bit! I think this is what makes us truly different. Now when I say: “we” or “us” I am referring to all of you.
All of you in some way, have become a part of the BttB family. Some of you donate time, others donate funds, some donate goods or access to properties/business. Some of you share our posts on social media or speak fondly of us to your contacts and sometimes you link us up with others that may be able to add value to the family. We tell the boys regularly about all the people they now have “in their corner.”
So, I eventually got through my speech and had an amazing night with our big BttB family that came along. I copped plenty off my mates for getting so emotional (which I expected), but I really couldn’t care less because I had at last, had a moment to reflect upon this little thing we started back in 2017… and it’s pretty special!
Things will continue change and evolve but we will always strive to stay true to the little idea we had not so long ago- “We want to offer more opportunities for boys to be surrounded by positive influences allowing them the best opportunity to become good men.”
We are so pleased that “we” now refers to all of you too… Well done!
-Adam DeMamiel, CEO and Co-Founder