Happy to roll up sleeves

Vol­un­teer­ing comes nat­u­rally

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Bri­tish born Claire In­s­ley set­tled in Alexan­dra in Septem­ber last year, hav­ing ar­rived in New Zealand in 2008. In­s­ley is a pas­sion­ate vol­un­teer and vol­un­teer­ing is in her blood.

‘‘I have al­ways done some­thing for some­body, some­where,’’ she said.

‘‘As long as I can re­mem­ber my fam­ily have vol­un­teered in one form or an­other, so it feels nat­u­ral to do­nate my time to or­gan­i­sa­tions which are im­por­tant to me.’’

In­s­ley has been an ac­tive vol­un­teer with Green­peace for more than 20 years, fo­cus­ing her ef­forts both lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

‘‘If no-one de­fended our planet, where would we live?’’ says Claire and rightly so.

She is pas­sion­ate about im­part­ing this phi­los­o­phy to the younger gen­er­a­tion and joined Girl­Guid­ing New Zealand in Whangarei as soon as she ar­rived on these shores.

‘‘I was a Guide my­self and was very aware that if my sci­ence teacher hadn’t given up her time, I wouldn’t have been able to go. I think it’s cru­cial that young people see oth­ers giv­ing up their time. I love the out­doors, camp­ing and am ob­vi­ously pas­sion­ate about the en­vi­ron­ment, so when I moved to Alexan­dra I was thrilled to join the lo­cal group.’’

Girl­Guid­ing New Zealand has hun­dreds of groups around the county all re­ly­ing on vol­un­teers like Claire to share their time, skills and en­ergy to en­able girls aged from five and up­wards to come to­gether. Girls are en­cour­aged to be them­selves, dis­cover their po­ten­tial, de­velop an aware­ness of oth­ers and their am­bi­tions are nur­tured.

So what does In­s­ley gain by giv­ing up her time to Girl­Guid­ing?

‘‘It’s great fun and be­cause I don’t have chil­dren it’s won­der­ful to in­ter­act with the girls and see girls be­ing girls in an all-fe­male en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘The train­ing is very valu­able and I have de­vel­oped some great friend­ships with women I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have come across other­wise.’’

Her out­stand­ing ser­vice to Girl­Guid­ing NZ has re­cently been recog­nised through be­ing awarded the Te Ara Award, which was due to be pre­sented in Auck­land. Un­for­tu­nately she couldn’t col­lect the award in per­son be­cause she was al­ready com­mit­ted to help­ing out on a Guide Camp in Queen­stown.

In­s­ley also writes for Ve­gan mag­a­zine and can be heard pre­sent­ing the En­vi­ron­ment Show on Sun­days on Alexan­dra com­mu­nity ra­dio sta­tion, Clas­sic Gold. She is also study­ing to­wards a Di­ploma of Hor­ti­cul­ture at Otago Polytech­nic. ◗ Story and photo pro­vided by Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral. Girl­Guid­ing NZ Lead­ers are re­quired around the Cen­tral Otago and Queen­stown Lakes District. If you would like to join Claire and hun­dreds of other vol­un­teers in your area con­tact Vol­un­teer­ing Cen­tral to see how you can get in­volved.

Pas­sion­ate: Claire In­s­ley, vol­un­teer leader with the 1st Alexan­dra Girl Guides Group.

Gil­lian White

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