Happy to roll up sleeves
Volunteering comes naturally
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.