A Cambridge Brownie Leader is celebrating this week after scooping a top prize for her unit in a national student volunteering competition.
Natalie Weller, a first-year student at Christ’s College, Cambridge, entered Barclays’ “Promising Students” competition when the team visited Cambridge during its tour of universities across England, searching for students committed to volunteering and supporting their communities. Natalie, who has been a Leader at 38th Cambridge Brownies since October 2013, pledged “to volunteer for Girlguiding”.
In order to win one of three top prizes of £1,000, Natalie had to ensure that a photo of her with her pledge posted on Facebook received the most ‘Likes’ from other Facebook users. Thanks to publicity from many guiding members on social media communities and support from as far afield as Canada, the USA and New Zealand, Natalie’s pledge photo gained a massive 1760 Likes in the two-week qualifying period. She came second overall in the competition and will shortly receive the prize £1,000 for her Brownie group.
The group is very active and has recently been on an adventure to the London Aquarium. The Brownies plan to use the prize money to support a residential adventure for the group in the summer, which will enable the Leaders to extend their skills in planning and delivering a range of activities, event management and most of all encouraging the Brownies themselves to take an active role in choosing what they want to do in guiding.
Natalie said that 38th Cambridge Brownies, based in Girlguiding Cambridge City North West District, were an ideal group to work with. She said: “I began volunteering four years ago with a Rainbow unit at home in Essex and so when I started at the University of Cambridge in October 2013 I wanted to continue to volunteer with guiding.” Based in the heart of the city centre, the Brownie unit has a strong history of being run by completely by university students and operates during the university term-time only. Currently the leadership team is made up of four university students, who all started with the group in September and have grown the group to 14 Brownies since then.
District Commissioner, Siân Dutton, said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear that Natalie has won this prize on behalf of her Brownie unit. Our district couldn’t function without the support of many student volunteers like Natalie, who give up their time to support girls in guiding and help in a variety of ways, including at weekly meetings, on camps and holidays, and by sharing their skills. It is wonderful that Natalie chose to pledge her support for Girlguiding when she entered the competition and we are grateful to everyone who supported her by liking the photograph – many of whom are guiding members from across the UK and the world.”