As another year ends, a new one begins with opportunity. And with that comes another generous gesture by Executive Edge Travel who have chosen Flying Fox as the beneficiary of its annual Edge Around The World charity. Flying Fox offers camps for young people with a disability to make friends and have fun in a safe space.
Taking flight for a cause
At first Brad was a bit hesitant to attend a Flying Fox camp as he’d never been away from home. But after wiping away a few tears, Brad braved the new adventure in the capable hands of Flying Fox, a local Melbourne non-profit organisation that provides social opportunities to people with a disability.
The Flying Fox staff and volunteers were so welcoming and attentive towards Brad that his parents were soon sent photos of their beloved son smiling and having a great time at camp mingling and having fun with all the other kids.
Brad’s mother, Michelle Reichenberg, describes how Flying Fox met every challenge with ease whether it be dietary requirements or the individual needs of each participant.
“For us, we needed to know that Brad was safe, understood and most importantly not judged – simply treated the same as any other child his age would be going on camp,” Michelle says.
Flying Fox camps are unique because they create an environment in which young people can go away together for days at a time; and half of the group just happen to have a disability.
A helping hand from Executive Edge
Brad is one of the many children that Executive Edge Travel will support in this year’s ‘Edge Around the World’ charity in recognition of their hotel preferred partners.
To represent good will in the travel industry, Executive Edge Travel has always been committed to giving back and this philanthropic endeavour highlights the company’s goal. Co-founders of Executive Edge Travel Gary Reichenberg, Sally Bird and Yvonne Verstandig’s intention in starting Edge Around the World was to encourage a movement of social conscience among travel agencies across Australia and, in turn, the world.
So in 2014, Executive Edge initiated Edge Around the World. Each year, Executive Edge’s team chooses a different charity and donates $1 for every night booked during the entire calendar year from the conglomerate of all their 13 hotel preferred partnerships with Belmond, Dorchester Collection, Four Seasons, Hyatt, Jumeirah, Leading Hotels of the World, Mandarin Oriental, Oetker Collection, Preferred Hotels, Rocco Forte, Shangri-La, Peninsula and Starwood Luxury Collection.
When a client books a stay with Executive Edge at any of their preferred partner hotels, they also become a part of this movement. All of Executive Edge’s 13 hotel preferred partners translate to exclusive complementary client benefits, added value, rewards and privileges which range from automatic room upgrades and daily breakfast to unique travel experiences and VIP amenities, so it’s a mutually beneficial scenario.
Preferred hotels united in support
Executive Edge’s preferred hotel partners have all been champions of Edge Around the World from the outset. Conveying the sentiments of Executive Edge’s preferred partners, Cathy Favaloro, the Four Seasons Regional Director of Sales for Australia & New Zealand, articulates: “Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is proud to be associated with Executive Edge and their commendable initiative in support of this worthy cause. As a founding member of the Four Seasons Preferred Partner Program, Executive Edge continues to be a top achiever and industry innovator.”
In 2014, the first year’s donation of Edge Around the World went to The Fred Hollows Foundation which restores sight to millions of people in more than 25 countries. The foundation trains and empowers local eye doctors, nurses and health workers to create a sustainable system of care in developing countries.
In 2015, Executive Edge’s chosen charity was Save the Children, the world’s leading independent organization for children working in 120 countries to save children’s lives, fight for their rights and help them fulfill their potential. In 2016, Executive Edge supported beyondblue which promotes good mental health, tackles stigma, discrimination and provides support to help people in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.
Last year, Executive Edge donated to Interplast. Interplast sends teams of volunteer plastic and reconstructive surgeons, anesthetists, nurses and allied health professionals to provide life-changing surgery and medical training in 17 countries across the Asia Pacific region.
Promoting equality in the community
This year Executive Edge is proudly supporting Flying Fox, an organisation driving the community towards inclusion. Flying Fox holds steadfast to the belief that every individual should be afforded the opportunity to participate as equal members of the community.
Dean Cohen, CEO of Flying Fox, explains the essence of this incredible organisation: “Each Flying Fox camp harnesses the passion and energy of young people and empowers them to create the best experience possible for people with a disability.”
Brad has now attended three Flying Fox camps. His uncle, Gary Reichenberg, owner of the Connections Group of Companies, sums it up best: “The Connection Group of Companies has always had a strong social and moral conscience and validation of this takes many forms,” Gary says. “We are blessed to work in an industry which enables us to travel and see different cultures that enriches our minds.
“With such good fortune, it’s our obligation to ensure that peace and good will is spread,” he adds. “We are proud to partner with Flying Fox. Not only do I have a personal connection to the organisation, but many of our work colleagues and preferred suppliers have family directly affected. It’s with great pride and honour that we are able to not just talk about our corporate and social responsibility but to actively demonstrate this by aligning with Flying Fox.”