Collinz Kennedy-Diack may only just be in double figures, but the 10-year-old Greendale/Tamatea Scout Group cub has recently been honoured as a double award winner.
Collinz was named as a top-10 finalist for a Fred Hollows Humanity Award during a ceremony at the opening of a community garden a couple of weeks ago. The Fred Hollows Humanity Awards are a global movement created to recognise passionate children striving to make the world around them better.
The Year 6 Arthur Miller School pupil was nominated by her cub leader Chris Comber (Kiwi) and picked from hundreds of Year 5 and 6 students all over New Zealand. Chris says even when Collinz started as a 6-year-old kea in 2018, she always showed a great deal of compassion towards others, helping not only those younger than her but anyone who was struggling, or just needed some help or someone to talk to.
"During that time she has really grown as a leader amongst the youth. At cubs, she has carried on that kindness and is always the first to offer support or a kind word to anyone that needs it, youth and leaders alike. She loves helping others learn new things and was a very easy choice to be promoted into the leadership roles of first seconder and then sixer (leader of a team of six youth). Collinz shows a level of integrity much beyond her years but still behaves like the kid she is."
Chris says during both lockdowns, Collinz was always one of the first cubs to do any of the community-based activities, spreading cheer to the locals with a teddy bear window display, Anzac Day poppies and Easter eggs.
"She also delivered care packages to 10 of her elderly neighbours and goodie bags to the cub leaders. Collinz organised a rubbish cleanup for her conservation badge and has helped out, without complaining, in the community native garden that our group developed."
Earlier this year Collinz earned a BRAVO recognition badge at the Waiapu Zone Founders Day camp for her caring nature, taking other cubs under her wing at camp and always willing to teach her skills.
"Our purpose in scouting is to 'empower youth through adventurous experiences to lead lives that make a positive difference'. Collinz is definitely already making that positive difference. To me, Collinz is what makes being a scout leader so rewarding and I am positive she will grow into an awesome adult."
It might have come as no surprise then, that Collinz was also named Greendale/Tamatea Scout Group Cub of the Year, receiving a "very cool wooden horse trophy" in the process.
"It was a surprise, although I thought it might be me since I made it as a Fred Hollows top-10 finalist. Kahikatea said that I display many awesome skills and always help others at cubs and have a positive attitude. I was very proud that I was named Cub of the Year — it was cool."
Collinz says she wasn't always so confident.
"When I started Cubs I was very shy and reserved and sat back a lot. Now I am much more confident and I have learnt many new skills like tying knots, cooking on open fires and about the awesome places around our area where we get to go on camps."
Mum TK agrees, saying how Cubs has impacted her daughter's life.
"We are so proud of Collinz and the girl she is. At 10 she has her own pet-minding business, helps care for her special-needs brother, looks after her eight mice so well and is always the first to put her hand up to do kind things for people in our neighbourhood, including delivering baking, fresh produce preserves and is always polite and courteous."
TK acknowledges the challenging home life Collinz has, having a brother with special needs.
"So we are so glad she gets to go to Cubs and just be a kid and have fun. The leaders there are extraordinary and are such positive role models for her. We really are grateful to their contribution to her life."