Our very own Zoe Fuller was recently nominated for a Young Person of the Year award. The nomination from their website tells the full story behind this amazing accolade:
A Girlguiding young leader who has a passion for teaching girls not to bully is in a competition that hails the achievements of young Londoners. Seventeen-year-old Zoe Fuller, from south-east London, helps to run groups of Rainbows and Brownies, plans to set up a unit at university, and is training to become an adult leader.
Now she has been nominated for the John Lewis Young People of the Year awards in London or the ‘YOPEYs’; ‘Revealing, Recognising & Rewarding’ young unsung heroes across London.
Girlguiding often runs in families and Zoe, of Plum Lane, Shooters Hill, was nominated by her mum Julia, who is District Commissioner for the Royal Eltham North (REN) District of Girlguiding.
Julia said: “When Zoe was 15 she rejoined Girlguiding as part of the Senior Section, having been a Rainbow and Brownie previously. Since then she has made a significant contribution to Guiding both within the REN District and now supporting neighbouring districts. During a particularly hairraising challenge she is more than likely to be the first one up the climbing wall or down the abseiling tower to set an example for the youngsters to follow.”
Zoe has become a Girlguiding peer educator following a weekend course. She is particularly keen on delivering sessions about bullying and has done this for neighbouring districts as well as REN.
Zoe is also a peer mentor at school, Blackheath High in Vanbrugh Park, where she is in the sixth-form and planning to go to Sussex University in Brighton after A-levels to study English. Zoe intends to set up a Girlguiding unit at university to enable former Guides at university to continue their membership, and help run a Guiding unit in the Brighton community, all while continuing to work towards her adult qualification. She wants to become a primary school teacher or social worker.
Zoe said: “Giving girls the chance to relax and make friends and have new experiences means a lot to me. I’ve tried out so many things and I want to give younger girls the chance to do the same. I’ve seen girls join when they’re shy five-year-olds and how much they’ve changed on their GirlGuiding journey.”
Zoe is particularly proud of her anti-bullying sessions. “We do an activity called ‘Rip and Stick’ where the girls draw an outline of a person, pick on features and then make hurtful comments such as their ears ‘stick out’ or their feet ‘look like a clown’s’.
“The ‘bullies’ then rip off these features off of the drawing, and then try sticking the ‘victim’ back together again. Straightaway they can see the damage that has been done, the effects of bullying. I think this sort of education should be taught in every school as it covers life lessons as well.”
YOPEY has been praised by national leaders, including the Prime Minister, and now the Mayor of London. Boris Johnson said: “London is full of talented young people who are doing amazing things to help their communities. It is fantastic that Young People of the Year are showcasing the achievements of these role models and encouraging more youngsters to strive to be the best they can.”
YOPEY was founded by former national newspaper journalist Tony Gearing, who said about Zoe: “Girlguiding has helped Zoe to grow up and grow in confidence, and now she is giving back by helping younger girls in the movement. She is also planning to give older girls at university the opportunity to continue their involvement, helping to secure the future of guiding.”>