Galatti Award 2012

We are very excited to announce that Raylene Sommerville has been awarded a 2012 Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.

The Galatti Award was established in 1983 to recognize the contributions of volunteers, and it is presented each year to 2 or 3 outstanding volunteers throughout the world who have provided long-term support at the grass-roots level. The award is the most prestigious commendation granted by AFS.

The Award is named after Stephen Galatti who served as the Director General of AFS for more than 28 years, from 1936 until his death in 1964.It is in tribute to Galatti and to devoted AFS volunteers that the Galatti Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was established.

The nomination put forward by AFS NZ read as follows; "Raylene has been a leading volunteer for AFS New Zealand continuously for almost 30 years. She worked her way up through the chapter system and was instrumental in making the Central Plateau chapter, situated in a small area of our country, one of the leading chapters. After 7 years of sterling service at chapter level Raylene moved up to operate at National Board level where she served for 20 years, including 10 years as the National Chair.

Raylene has always amazed those of us who have served with her by her unswerving dedication to AFS at chapter, National and International levels. The energy that she brought to the roles that she has filled has been an incredible example for many of us.

Raylene has been a shining light for all in AFS New Zealand and for many volunteers throughout the AFS world for many, many years.

Then after retiring from her 10 year term as National Chair she moved back to a role as President of the Central Plateau Chapter and she is a leading light to that group of volunteers.

Raylene is considered to have set an example that volunteers should strive to emulate. Unfortunately we have not been able to clone her. AFS New Zealand is much stronger as a result of the various leadership roles that Raylene has filled over almost 30 years.

More than one person that has ever been involved with AFS in NZ can testify to a tap on the shoulder, a pointed email or a phone call which has included a version of the phrase, "Would you just...?"! Raylene has never shied away from being quite upfront about asking people to contribute to this organisation and it is testament to the respect that she has that people have said "yes".

In 2005, Raylene was awarded the honour of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community; an award in which her role in AFS and to intercultural education had significant influence.

In 2009, Raylene was also awarded Life Membership by AFS New Zealand.

We consider that it is time that Raylene's wonderful service to AFS, both locally and globally, is recognised at the highest level. She stands tall in the AFS whanau (family)."

Raylene's Award will be presented at a future date by a representative of the International Board of Trustees.

Doris Cuthell
National Director