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Campo’s new SAS recruits raise over $300,000 for local youth

Campo’s new SAS recruits raise over $300,000 for local youth

The Terry Campese Foundation is running its SAS challenge for the second year in a row, recruiting 26 of Queanbeyan’s most charitable residents and business owners. From real estate agents to QPRC staff, the recruits have signed on to challenge themselves both mentally and physically to give back to their local communities.

The 2023 recruits have already smashed last year’s fundraising efforts, with figures currently sitting at a whopping $303,209. Recruit James ‘Butters’ Pryde is leading the pack with an incredible $53,400 raised.


The recruits will take part in an SAS military-style challenge that will put them through their paces physically and mentally. Money raised by the recruits will go towards the Terry Campese Foundation to help fund the trip of a lifetime for around 12 young people from the Queanbeyan, Braidwood and Goulburn regions.

“The group last year set a very high standard for the following year’s recruits and the way that they approached the challenge and raised money definitely changed the shape of the foundation,” Campese says.

“We thank them for growing the program to what it is today.”

Last year’s Special Forces Challenge gave disadvantaged young people from the TCF program the opportunity to take on the trails of Larapinta in the NT, learning about the local area from Indigenous elders and challenging their teamwork and problem-solving capabilities.

This year a new group of young people has already started working with mentors on life skills such as resilience and communication, and will have the opportunity to trek the Kokoda Trail for 10 days. 


SAS recruit #8 is Queanbeyan business owner Jonathan Dawson from Dawson’s Heating and Cooling. He has known Campo since his early school days and says he is looking forward to the personal challenges of being part of the SAS crew. 

“I showed a little bit of interest last year, and when the opportunity came up this year I was definitely keen,” Dawson says.

“I’ve done zero fitness and zero exercise for the past few years so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get me off my bum and get me active.

“When you’ve got a goal or a target it actually makes you want to do something every day, because without it there is always an excuse for why not.”

The recruits have been training 2-3 times a week as a group and some individuals have been putting in extra work to prepare themselves for what will culminate in an epic 30 hour weekend in February. 

“I love a physical challenge but I think the mental challenge is gonna be huge,” Dawson says.

“It’s a fairly stressful world we live in and I think we’re all challenged nearly every day in our lives these days, but I think the mental challenge of just being able to go 30 hours and not knowing what’s coming next will be huge.

“Rumour is they had a few of them in tears last year and they’ve got even bigger and better plans for us this year.” 

Recruit #7 is Eva Bono, a local real estate agent who attended Karabar High School with Terry and Jeremy Howell (Jez). 

“I got a DM from Jez and he asked me if I’d like to be involved,” Eva says.

“I’ve done a lot of charity work in the past. I was part of the Raise the Roof initiative for The Starlight Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages in Botswana, and I’ve worked with the Roadhouse for the Red Cross in their soup kitchen.

“When Jez reached out, I thought what a cool opportunity to do something with boys I went to school with to benefit the youth in our area.”

Eva says while she’s nervous for the challenge itself, she plans on giving it her all. 

“I don’t know what I’ve got myself into … but it’s gonna be really good fun,” she says.

“We’ve all just become really close with our training. I think it will be rewarding but it will be definitely really tough.”

Eva is sitting at number 2 in the fundraising ranks and has managed to raise an incredible amount of money already from local businesses, family and friends. She says no donation is too small and that it all adds up to contributing to the goals and vision of the Terry Campese Foundation. The recruits have even created a competition within the competition that is driving them to raise even more funds, 

“We’ve made it a bit of a competition, but it’s just a bit of banter and a bit of fun and we have a great time, and I’ve raised nearly $18,000,” Eva says. 

The recruits will head to the secret destination this weekend (11 and 12 February) where 10 ex- and current Special Force army personnel will put them through their paces for the gruelling 30 hour challenge.

“It’s a massive undertaking and the 2023 recruits should be very proud of themselves and the efforts they’ve put in,” Campese says. 

“The amount of money they’ve raised is phenomenal.”

Donate to the Terry Campese Foundation here

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About the Author: Holly Winchester

Part Jennifer Coolidge, part Jennifer Garner (gaudy and geeky), Holly idolises Dolly Parton and Princess Di and loves NRL. When she's not creating killer content, you’ll find Holly at the Maccas drive thru getting her chai latte fix or buying 1990s memorabilia for the walls of her Googong home. Specialist subject: the Woolies carpark.