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Saltire Awards - Outstanding Achievement - Kira Cooper

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VW Blog graphic Kira Cooper 1

Kira Cooper 4Hiya my name is Kira, I’m a 21-year-old university business student. Volunteering has been a massive part of my life for as long as I can remember and started recording my volunteering hours when I was 14, collecting over 1550 hours through a variety of different roles. I cherish the opportunities I have had and will never stop looking for new ones.

Since the age of 5, I have been a member of Girlguiding, and at 14 started my Guiding volunteering journey, achieving a variety of leadership qualifications and awards in the process. I have met so many amazing people of all ages and cultures, and made so many memories, from a cup of tea over a campfire, to taking a group of brownies to London for the trooping of the colours, and taking my unit to Blair Drummond Safari Park and sleeping next to the lion enclosure. Volunteering for Guiding has also crossed into Scouting, where I was a standalone leader representing Girlguiding Scotland at an International Scout Jamborette at Blair Atholl. These experiences Kira Cooper 5are so valuable to me as, in addition to my personal development, seeing the joy and growth of the young people I work with is incredibly rewarding.

Another volunteering role I partook in for 5 years was a shadow fiddle tutor at The Gaitherin’. This is an annual weeklong music tuition event for school aged children. Before I volunteered, I was a participant, and I loved every second of it. On the surface it is a music event, but after being there for 10 minutes, it is so much more, it is a family. Being able to volunteer just felt like the natural next steps, working alongside the wonderful people who I looked up to so much when I was younger. Again, observing the development of the young people from the start of the week to the end was the most precious part. Though, in addition to this working with a professional tutor to teach fiddle helped to build on my own skills in both teaching and performing.

In High School I was in my Student Council, eventually becoming chair in my final year, as well as being a part of a small select group of students that worked alongside Aberdeenshire Council. This was the start of my volunteering in more of a business perspective, as the meetings and actions were more formatted and formal. Following this, I am now a returning committee member for my University Archery Club.

Kira Cooper 1For my Duke of Edinburgh Award, I decided to mix things up and volunteer in a new area, I was a general helper at the Half-Penny Animal Sanctuary, looking after a wide range of animals. I have always loved being around animals, so doing this and helping the charity was a perfect mix for me.

Finally, as a family, we used to go to the Ice Hockey in Aberdeen every week. At the time, I wasn’t hugely interested in ice hockey, so as something to do every week, I became a volunteer Off-Ice-Official. After becoming more involved, I started to love the sport, interacting with the players, learning new skills, including being a DJ, announcer, and crowd marshal.

For the majority of my volunteering, I have been a recipient of the activities, and I wanted to share my experience and try to give others the opportunities I have had. When all this is written down this volunteering seems like a lot to fit in, however, as it was either an existing hobby and/or I enjoyed it, it never felt like a chore, and I found it easy to fit into my days. I am just doing what I enjoy and grasping at every opportunity I can.

Inspirational achievements in volunteering - congratulations Kira!

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