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Miss Nicholls (20) was one of only four New Zealand women to receive the certificate, presented at a special dinner function at Government House in Wellington recently. The award scheme is open to women aged between 15 and 25, and recognises qualities of leadership, dedication and excellence in areas of community life.
The two-year programme involves six months' voluntary community service, brigade and church involvement, as well as attendance at a national assessment weekend.
''It was a lot of work, so it was fantastic to be recognised after two years,'' she said.
Miss Nicholls spent six months volunteering at the Dunedin Public Library, as well as organising a pyjama party and themed dinner for the Girls' Brigade.
''Working at the library was really cool.
''I got to work on all the different levels of the library and everybody there was very nice.''
Although tough, the experience was rewarding in itself, she said.
''It was really good just giving things a go and going out there and enjoying whatever was thrown at me.
''I would say to others just to go for it.
''It's a challenge but also a lot of fun.''
Girls' Brigade New Zealand administrative director Elizabeth Dickens said the ceremony in Wellington was rewarding for the women.
''It is really special for them.
''They work really hard for two years so it's just a great night.''
- Liam MacAndrew.