A Nelson volunteer with the Spirit of Adventure Trust, known to thousands of trainees as ‘Grandma,’ has won Sail Training International’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award – the Trust’s second prestigious international award in two years.
Sheila Budgen, a long-time volunteer with the youth development organization, was awarded the title and trophy at the 2009 Sail Training International conference held in Istanbul in November.
The award is bestowed on a volunteer making a notable contribution to helping young people achieve a life-changing experience through participation in a youth development voyage on a tall ship.
In 2008 the Spirit of Adventure Trust, owner and operator of the three-masted barquentine Spirit of New Zealand received the S.T.I.‘Sail Training Organisation of the Year’ award from a field of more than 100 ships from 30 countries.
Sheila, ‘volunteer extraordinaire’, is not unaccustomed to being the recipient of such awards. In 2007 she won the Spirit of Adventure Trust’s own top award, the Topgallant Award, for more than ten years’ distinguished service.
Her involvement with the Spirit of Adventure Trust dates back to 1996. As a volunteer she has sailed on countless 10-day youth development voyages, 5-day Spirit Trophy voyages, 5-day sails for the physically disabled and student school Trustees, as well as many overnight adult sailings and day sails.
‘Sheila is not only a skilled seafarer but also very much at ease with young people,‘ says the Trust’s CEO Nicola Jamieson. ‘Her passion, interpersonal skills and rapport with the trainees ensure an exceptional level of trust.
‘The Spirit of Adventure Trust is proud to have such a ‘volunteer extraordinaire’ as an integral part of the Spirit team.’
Over the last 37 years the Trust has provided youth development leadership programmes for some 75,000 secondary students, building resilience, confidence, self-esteem, communication and team building skills.