Volunteer Spotlight

Dave Palmer

Dave PalmerOver 12 years ago Dave Palmer became the chairperson of Christchurch CFFD. Six years prior, in 2004, his friend Bruce Catherall, chairperson at the time, invited him to CFFD Christchurch camp at Woodend. Dave was going to be there for only two hours but stayed for five.

“I enjoyed what I saw!” Dave said about that afternoon at camp.

He got to know people during an afternoon session and enjoyed the Israeli dance in the evening. In the short space of time he attended, Dave “was very much welcomed there and was impressed enough to think this would be a good group to be part of.”

When Dave’s involvement in the children’s ministry at his church came to an end, his next venture became volunteering for CFFD.

The Encourager“I had very little clue about disability and didn’t know much about CFFD, but I had a decent car and thought I could offer transport to meetings and activities, and maybe not much else,” he says.

Dave quickly learnt he could offer more! He became the guitarist on the worship team. Then he was asked to join the CFFD Christchurch committee. Eventually, Dave began organising and leading meetings. His reason for stepping up was “not because of ability but because I had the enthusiasm to give it a go, and I’m definitely the most extroverted.”

Dave says that through volunteering for CFFD, “I’ve learnt what I’m good at and what others are better than me at. I do my part, others do theirs, and we’re a great team. I’ve found that it’s best I relate to everyone there in the way of the Golden Rule. I want to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity that I want for myself. What that means is I talk and interact with people in a way that I would want for myself, no matter their abilities or disabilities.”

Dave has Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and he experiences what is familiar to many in the disability community.

“I know how it feels to be treated differently or a bit ‘lesser’… and I find that horrible. But I have to say it’s been a joy to have been treated with complete respect by everyone in Elevate/CFFD and I trust I’ve done the same. I suppose if there is one thing that I’ve learned it’s that ‘disability’ simply means someone may need a bit of help with tasks others can do for themselves – but only if they ask for help!”

Dave has been happy being the chairperson. He appreciates the encouragement from the committee and people of Christchurch CFFD. He listens to the advice of wise members of the committee and always strives to reach a consensus. Therefore, it is important to Dave that the committee discuss everything fully “because if one person disagreed with something, they could be the one who is right.”

He speaks highly of his committee members as being “people with brilliant and differing abilities and giftings. They are huge on encouragement and there have been no arguments or personality challenges in all my time in the chair. Probably if there is one thing I bring in leadership it’s that I don’t try to do too much. We stick pretty much to the core of why we’re there, which is prayer and worship…I’ve learnt from this group, that’s what they want.”

Dave loves volunteering for CFFD and says, “unless it’s clearly time to move on, I’m very much still here.”





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