Torrential rain and thunderstorms did nothing to deter a group of women from gathering for an early breakfast recently, to honour a woman they hold in high esteem.
At a special Mangawhai Zonta Club breakfast at Dune Cafe on International Women’s Day, March 8, volunteer extraordinaire Jenny Webb was presented with the organisation’s Yellow Rose Award (YRA).
“Today, all over the world, Zonta members are honouring women in their communities who have contributed their time and expertise to make a difference, women who work tirelessly under the radar and not often acknowledged,” said Zonta Mangawhai president Isabel Hollis. “Jenny is one of these wonderful people.”
Webb says she felt very honoured to be selected as well as surprised.
“Thank you so much for your nominations,” said Jenny, “although I think there are a lot more women out there doing a lot more work than me.”
The former nurse and mother of four was selected by Zonta members for her dedication of time and energy over the last five years to Mangawhai Walking Weekend, Mangawhai Charitable Track Association (MCTA), St John, and Mangawhai Scouts, despite suffering serious health issues.
Both Chairman for MCTA, Gordon Hosking, and Zonta member and organiser of YRA, Karen Clarke – who spoke on behalf of the Scouts – thanked Webb for her years of service and devotion.
“The children learn so much from you,” Clarke said. “You’re a fantastic, inspiring leader.”
“We value you and your expertise, not only for providing the essential morning tea for all the volunteers but also for your hard work on the tracks,” Hosking said.
Webb was the first woman to join MCTA and says she always felt a lot of support from Gordon and the other ‘trackies’. She introduced the now regular morning teas the group holds, an idea inspired from her previous role as Department of Labour’s national health and safety manager for three years.
“It was a matter of safety really,” explains Jenny. “All the workers would go off on the tracks to work, sometimes on their own and there wasn’t a check-in to see who is working where and when they return. My mother always said that the way to a man’s heart was with food so I brought morning tea and they came like flies!”
After moving to Mangawhai Heads in 2012, Webb established the Mangawhai Scouts, now with 22 members, after discovering the area only had a club for Cubs. She is currently developing ‘Adventurers’, a group aimed for older Scout members and also teaches First Aid to Mangawhai’s Cadets. Her passion and care for young people is apparent.
“If we don’t put resources into our children, we don’t have a future,” she says. “I believe everyone does the best they can with what they know. Scouts is about providing further positive role models and teaching them that they can do anything.”
In her speech Webb was generous with praise for the many local organisations and services who help fund and assist the Scouts.
“Thank you to the people of Kaiwaka and Mangawhai for your ongoing support… these communities are amazing, always doing something for a cause which brings people together.”
n If interested in finding out more about the wonderful work of Zonta, please phone Karen Clarke 021 528 070 or check out their website, Zonta International District 16, zonta.org.nz.