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Published on 19th April 2011
A group of enthusiastic returned volunteers are the brains behind VSA’s newest branch in the Bay of Plenty.
The VSA Council approved the formation of the new branch at its March meeting, taking the number of VSA branches to nine. Within days the newly formed branch had run its first event – a stand at the Tauranga Multicultural Festival held on March 19.
According to the branch chair, Barbara Rowe, the stand was a great success. “We had a lot of interest,” she says. “We gave away all our balloons and we went through a lot of VSA booklets.”
Barbaba, who volunteered twice with VSA in the 1960s and 70s, helped set up the branch after she ran into recently returned volunteer Kim Cleland in Tauranga last year. They quickly gathered up other returned volunteers, and before long had enough potential members to form a branch.
She says the new branch has three aims – to promote VSA, to support local volunteers in the field, and to provide support to returned volunteers.
So far this year two Bay of Plenty volunteers have set off on assignment, one to the Solomon Islands and the other to Bougainville.
Barbaba, a retired teacher, has very happy memories of the years she spent as a VSA volunteer in Fiji and Vanuatu.
“I hope that the people from VSA continue to be as crazy and full of fun as they were then,” she says.