Bex, a student from Rushcliffe School, reports on her Giving Nation Awards day

Bex (16), a student from Rushcliffe Comprehensive School, winners of the 2008 Giving Nation national award, reports on her experience of the Giving Nation Awards day in Westminster.

This is Bex‘s report on her and her charity team‘s experience of the Giving Nation Awards day in London and winning a trip to the Cameroon to support the Rainforest Foundation.

Treasure hunt!
After an early start, we arrived in London where we met up with the Giving Nation team and the other schools. Our first activity was a treasure hunt around Westminster.

The idea was to answer questions which led us to different places. At each place we had to take a photo to prove we had been there, and we got points for each place we visited, with bonus points for imaginative photos.

Our team had lots of fun doing this and it meant that we got to see lots of London‘s sites!

After the treasure hunt, we met up with the other schools again and went for lunch. This was a good opportunity to talk to pupils from schools around the UK, learn about their charity work and share ideas with them. We heard some really interesting stories and picked up some great ideas!

Awards ceremony

We then went to the Churchill Room at HM Treasury where the awards ceremony was to take place. Before the ceremony began we had the chance to do a television interview and meet the Minister for the Third Sector, Kevin Brennan.

The ceremony commenced, and all of the schools were presented with framed certificates to recognise their achievements. MP Kevin Brennan made a speech and presented the awards. Each regional winner also received £1000 to develop citizenship within their school.

Our amazing awards trip to Cameroon!

Representatives from the Rainforest Foundation UK were present, and they spoke about their work and what we might get up to while we are in Cameroon. It was not until this point that it actually sunk in that we had won! Just some of the things we could possibly do while there are visit a gorilla sanctuary and go on the Congo River in a dug-out canoe!

It was then time for us to talk about the work we had done over the past year to earn this trip, why we participate in charity events and the importance of citizenship and charity.

It was great being able to share our views and ideas with others and I really enjoyed doing the speech.

Why we get involved
We enjoy participating in all the fundraising and campaigning events that we organise as a team, but more than anything we loved the fact that we were able to get our voices heard on the issues we care about and we were able to make a difference to people‘s lives by supporting the work of worthwhile charities and getting involved.

Being Rewarded is a brilliant bonus!
We feel that we achieved a lot throughout the year and it is brilliant that a group of young people, together, can do so much and make such a difference. We think our work is very important, and to have been rewarded for it is a brilliant bonus. We would encourage other schools to get involved in charity work as education is a powerful tool and should be used to help others who are less fortunate than us.

At Citizenship Club we have very strong views about most issues, so we decided to do something about it instead of just sitting back and thinking it was someone else‘s problem.

Getting involved is SO important!
I think it is very important for other people, including the media and the government, to be aware of the positive work that young people are doing in their communities so that they can help to further that work.

People of all ages need to realise that the negative stereotypes of young people, which portray them as being apathetic and aggressive, do not apply to the majority of young people, and the Giving Nation competition is a great way of doing this.

We can‘t wait to support the Rainforest Foundation‘s work in Cameroon, and we know that it will be the experience of a life time!

Bex Bailey
Check out more images from the day here on flickr

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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