Pooch pals: Why a teen and an octogenarian are jumping through hoops for dogs

School for Dogs Aldinga Bay volunteers, aged 81 and 14, team up for canines

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Fred Baddock, 81, and 14-year-old Samuel Steuart are both volunteers with School for Dogs Aldinga Bay on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.

Fred Baddock, 81, and 14-year-old Samuel Steuart are both volunteers with School for Dogs Aldinga Bay on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula.

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South Australia's Fred Baddock, 81, and 14-year-old Samuel Steuart are the oldest and youngest volunteers at this award-winning dog training school.

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THERE may be nearly seven decades between them, but what brings these unlikely Fleurieu Peninsula residents together is their dogged determination - and a love for all things canine.

South Australia's Fred Baddock, 81, and 14-year-old Samuel Steuart are the oldest and youngest volunteers respectively at School for Dogs Aldinga Bay.

The community-run not-for-profit dog training school, which won a City of Onkaparinga's Every Generation Onkaparinga (EGO) Award in the Intergenerational Category in October, has been operating for over 30 years and the average age of their team of volunteers is 55, with several generations between Mr Baddock and his teenage friend.

Mr Baddock first came to the club with his wife, to train their dog, and he's never left. "We went from there, to training and being secretary and all the other things that go with it," he said.

"It's the people, the atmosphere and the friendliness, it's a really friendly club. There are all age groups, all nationalities, and it's a mixture of very friendly people."

Samuel said he signed up to have fun, and because he likes dogs. "There are lots of age groups mixing and I love meeting up with the people," he said.

Aldinga School for Dogs president Gail Kilby said the club's volunteers are "unbeatable".

"These people put in so many hours and hours of volunteering and they do it through love," she said.

"For older people [volunteering] it means that they're outside and they're active, and for younger people mixing with older people, it kind of breaks down the barriers between them so that there's not so many ideas that are different, because we're not different.

"We also need younger people here to help as well because they're more able to do the physical stuff and also it's bringing in the next generation to keep the club going for the next 30 years."

Community champion

Reynella resident Sylvia Newton, 81, won the EGO Award in the Individual category for her contribution to the local community spanning decades.

Sylvia Newton with her son at the awards.

Sylvia Newton with her son at the awards.

A board member of the Reynella Neighbourhood Centre (RNC) for two decades, Mrs Newton currently runs the centre's seniors group as well sa running weekly meetings of the local bridge club for over 30 years.

She has also helped establish the centres memorial garden, helps community members with their taxes two days a week for four months each year, and tirelessly fundraises for the centre.

Her dedication is legendary and she's known for her mantras: "Have a go" and "What does age have to do with it?"

City of Onkaparinga's community wellbeing officer Justin Ifould said the EGO Awards aim to recognise the outstanding achievements and valuable contributions of people of all ages, cultures and abilities make to 'positive ageing' in our communities.

"The nominated people, community groups and clubs are inspirational role models that instil pride in local communities and foster interaction between people of all ages, promoting greater understanding and respect between the generations.

"School for Dogs Aldinga Bay and Sylvia Newton certainly exemplify these traits and make our communities better places to live."

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