Alumni stories

Graham Smith rides against the wind

4 March 2020

Program Manager, Graham Smith plans to ride across Australia to raise funds for ARLF.

Working at the ARLF, and seeing first hand the positive difference it makes to people, has motivated Graham to actively want to help raise funds for future ARLF programs as he transitions from the ARLF. 

Later this month one of our staff will literally ride off into the sunset from his job after more than six years working for the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF).

Former Program Director, Graham Smith, doesn’t like the word retire. He prefers ‘retyre’ or ‘redirect’ or even ‘reignite’ and that is what he is doing as he farewells his tenure with the ARLF by cycling fully self-supported from Canberra to Perth.

The goal of the ride, with a distance of approximately 4,000 kilometres, is to raise at least $40,000 toward a scholarship for the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

It’s a personal endeavor for Graham, who has dubbed the ride, Against The Wind, for various practical and symbolic reasons.

Appointed to the ARLF in early 2014, Graham managed and facilitated many different programs for the Foundation. He did most of his work for the ARLF’s flagship leadership program, the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP). As a facilitator of the 15-month program for the past six years, Graham has seen first-hand the major affects the program has had on more than 150 participants.

He has been so impressed with the positive changes brought about by the ARLF’s programs, he wants to give back to the ARLF as he finishes this stage of his working career.

Starting on Tuesday 31 March, the ride will take about 40 days. His nephew Kiel Chapman will cycle the beginning the route with him and a cycling companion Dr Ian Wallis will join him in Wagga Wagga for the rest of the ride.

The ride route will include communities such as Yass, Gundagai, Tumbarumba, Wagga Wagga, Hay Euston, Mildura, Renmark, Burra, Port Augusta, Minnipa, Nundroo, Border Village, Cocklebiddy, Fraser Range, Coolgardie and Merridin.

Graham has suggested to the ARLF that the money he raises benefit an ARLP applicant from one of regions or rural communities along the ride route from Canberra to Perth.

To follow Graham’s progress and to make an online donation to the Against The Wind go to https://give.everydayhero.com/au/against-the-wind