Claire Mouser is a Caroline Springs resident of 16 years, she is the community development manager at Woodlea, Aintree, and a leader with the 1st Caroline Springs Scout Group. Earlier this month she was named the 2024 Melton Citizen of the Year. She spoke to Star Weekly about her connection to the local area.
Tell us about your work with Woodlea?
It’s an amazing role and I truly love my job. As the suburb has been constructed, I work with residents to help them build a community that they are connected to, and enjoy living in. I help them start sporting clubs, activate spaces, run events and I advocate for resident needs. Woodlea is a wonderful development, with 30 per cent dedicated to green open space, which really means there are lots of reasons to get outdoors and love where you live with amazing parks and fantastic sporting clubs and groups to get involved in. It’s a great place to live, with great facilities.
Tell us about your experiences with the 1st Caroline Springs Scout Group and the Caroline Springs RSL?
I have been a volunteer Scout leader for 13 years. Much of this time was as the group leader at Caroline Springs, establishing one of the largest Scout groups in Victoria, where youth can be themselves, develop life skills, experience leadership, make lifelong friends, contribute to their community, and explore their passions and interests.
After building the Scout group and a purpose built, state of art Scout facility in Burnside Heights and navigating the Scout group through COVID lockdowns… I changed my Scouting roles to support the eldest youth section – Rovers (18 to 26-year-olds).
This cohort had struggled through COVID – finishing secondary school, starting uni and losing casual jobs. It has been truly rewarding to watch them reconnect, rebuild, push their way into the community and develop their adult lives.
The Scout group and the Caroline Springs RSL Sub Branch started at roughly the same time. The Scout group first partnered with the RSL for the ANZAC Appeal about ten years ago. The RSL was stunned at how effectively the youngest Scouts (5-year-olds) could sell badges to the public, and they quickly became the RSL’s secret selling machine for poppy appeals and ANZAC badges.
For the youth members this partnership with the RSL was unique, and the youth members took great value in forming bonds with veterans. No longer were the ANZAC legends just something children learnt about at school. These legends had names and lived in our community.
What do you like about where you live?
There isn’t much I don’t like. I am so lucky to live, work and play in my local community/home. I feel connected to community, but I also feel valued, respected, and needed. Scouting lets me combine all my passions and form great relationships, advocate for young people, enjoy the outdoors, and give service to my community.
What, if anything, would you change about where you live?
I would ask people to give more of their time. Volunteer in their passion area. Lend a helping hand or skill set. We all have so much to offer, and the rewards you get from volunteering are endless. Sure, it’s time consuming and sometimes thankless or tiring – but I have grown so much as a person through my volunteering and made lifelong friendships. I feel connected to my community and my community feels like family.
Where is your favourite local place to spend time?
Water is my recharge – in it or on it. I love kayaking and aqua fit. I wish Lake Caroline allowed water sports and that the Caroline Springs community had a pool. For now, I am happy to recharge in my bathtub!