In the last 6 months or so Volunteering Central has been asked to talk to a couple of groups of students. Firstly year 11 Mount Aspiring College (MAC) Life Skills students and secondly St Johns Wanaka youth cadets who were aged 8 – 17 years old.
The aim of us talking to each of these groups, was to get young people thinking about volunteers in their community, the range of roles, the types of people who volunteer and how they could get into volunteering if they wanted to.
Initially when speaking to MAC students the key roles they came up with related to the high profile sports events that take place here such as Challenge Wanaka. However when I got them to think a little deeper, and when I met with St John’s youth, they came up with so many examples of volunteers in their communty I was blown away!
Then during our National Volunteer Week celebrations back in June we we so lucky to have two of our community’s youth leaders speak. In Cromwell 18 year old Courtney Anderson shared her volunteering story. Courtney won the Trustpower Youth Community Spirit Award for her involvement in a wide range of organisations including St John Youth, Ripponburn Rest Home and fundraising concerts. She spoke of how generations of her family volunteered before here, installing in her a sense of community and one that she is clearly embracing.
In Wanaka 16 year old Leo Munro-Heward shared his journey of volunteering with anti-cyber bullying group Sticks n Stones and the experience of being awarded in the Giving Back category of the New Zealand Youth Awards for his work in setting up the Queer Straight Alliance in Wanaka. The award recognises people whose actions address a current need and have a significant impact on their community. Leo is clearly passionate about inclusion, acceptance and diversity and is working hard to raise awareness and support of fellow students and young people.
It’s so reassuring to know that our young people are growing up with an appreciation of the roles being undertaken by volunteers in their community – from local sports and youth groups, to supporting older people, events and festivals, environmental projects, fundraisers and of course emergency services. They are also some incredibly active young people who are out and about pursuing roles or even setting up organisations that they are passionate about.
The future of volunteering is in good hands.