Volunteering Central welcomed around 140 volunteers at their four celebrations to mark National Volunteer Week 2016 this June.
Each year Volunteering Central joins with the other volunteer centres and many organisations across New Zealand to celebrate and recognise the vital contribution of the country’s approximately 1.2 million volunteers to social development, the economy and the environment.
This year, the organisation, which is an initiative of Central Lakes Trust, held events in Cromwell, Queenstown, Wanaka and Alexandra and invited volunteers to have a drink and a nibble and to listen to some great guest speakers – all volunteers themselves.
In Cromwell Bruce McPherson entertained volunteers as he shared his experiences of volunteering in Papua New Guinea through VSA. He encouraged those present to consider stepping outside their comfort zone and sharing their skills with others living in very different circumstances, highlighting the enormous amount he gains through giving to others.
Queenstown’s celebration, held at the new DOC Visitors Centre, saw a diverse range of volunteers listen to TedX volunteer Sarah Robertson share how and why she makes time in her busy life to join the organising committee of TedX Queenstown. She highlighted the enormous satisfaction she and other volunteers gain from seeing the event come together and hearing the conversations sparking between audience members following each speaker.
Wanaka saw a change from the regular format as volunteers were ushered into Cinema Paradiso to be entertained and inspired by 7 guest speakers (plus the local Brownie group) who shared in 2 minute snippets their own volunteering stories. Open, inspiring, enlightening and moving – each volunteer had their own reasons for making time to volunteer and we left more knowledgeable about local organisations and humbled by their speeches. Volunteers then enjoyed drinks, nibbles, popcorn and the famous Paradiso cookies before being invited to stay for a film!
Finally in Alexandra volunteers gathered at Alexandra Community House where It’s Not About Us trustee Wayne Perkins had the crowd listening, laughing and moved to silence by his experiences in Vanuatu. Local volunteer Dave Ramsey was also presented with a $200 Monteith’s Brewery Bar voucher as the lucky name selected from a host of nominated volunteers in the area. All worthy nominees and Dave a very popular winner who is planning to share his voucher with others.
“We welcomed around 140 volunteers, plus Mayor Tony Lepper (CODC) and Deputy Major Lyall Cocks (QLDC) to our celebrations this year and it was great to see so many new faces mingling with those who turn up regularly each year. Volunteers were from diverse backgrounds – highlighting that there isn’t a ‘typical’ volunteer – just people connected by making time to support someone or something that they are passionate about.” Volunteering Centrals Gillian White says. “We met men, women, teenagers and children, students, travellers, professionals, retirees, unwaged and parents and between them all they represented around 60 different volunteer involving organisations. It was fantastic seeing people brave the cold to come together and be thanked for all they do to keep our communities ticking along so wonderfully.”
A Central Lakes Trust initiative established in 2011, Volunteering Central seeks to raise awareness of volunteering in the Central Otago Lakes District and connects volunteers to organisations that rely on their amazing efforts. They would like to thank Otago Community Trust, New World, DOC, Alexandra Community House, Wanaka Marquee and Party Hire, Liz Breslin, Calum McCleod and Cinema Paradiso, Monteith’s Brewer Bar Alexandra, Local Radio Central, Radio Wanaka and all the volunteer helpers and speakers for their support of National Volunteer Week 2016.