Rochelle Sampy, one of TheSite.org Leaders, explains her role to collect a special award for volunteering on behalf of YouthNet.
As a TheSite.org Leader, I put the ‘Y’ in ‘youth–led’. As a young person, I give a sense of legitimacy to YouthNet and TheSite.org’s activities, sharing my opinions an insight, which in turn helps them support young people.
Recently the rewards of my role as a Leader got much bigger. I was invited to go and receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award for Volunteering with Emma Thomas, YouthNet’s CEO at the HMRC. It is an amazing building and one almost feels like…er…the Queen. It was so exciting to be in the same room as Arlene Phillips (OMG! Strictly Come Dancing judge) and Dame Kelly Holmes (No…I did not get any autographs… sniff…sniff…) who, were also receiving this award on behalf of their organisations.
It was a big privilege to be there, as we were one of 60 volunteer-led national organisations who received this award. One only needs to think about the number of similar organisations there are to realise what a big opportunity this was for YouthNet…. and me! I also got to talk to others about my role at YouthNet and hope I did it justice.
The ceremony was short yet effective. Martyn Lewis, Founder and Chairman of YouthNet opened the event with a speech that highlighted how little volunteers are celebrated for what they do. The Olympics helped a little but what happens now? I suppose YouthNet is part of that legacy to change the perception of volunteers. All of the Leaders are young people and it is YouthNet who has shaped us to be better citizens who are passionate about the world around us. In a way, I felt that it was time that the young Leaders gave back to YouthNet and this is what this award represented. Of course, it also showed how useful the young volunteers are to YouthNet. It’s nice to feel wanted!
But this is just the beginning and has to be my favourite YouthNet moment so far. There will be many more awards to come although that has no effect on me volunteering for YouthNet. I love all the people I currently volunteer with and as long as they are there, I will be as well.
What’s your favourite YouthNet moment? Why do you like volunteering for YouthNet or TheSite.org?