More than half a century of service
Mrs Naunton couldn’t believe the email she received saying she had been awarded the honour after an anonymous nomination, most likely from colleagues in the Girls’ Brigade.
“When I got the email, I didn’t believe it because I don’t do what I do to get an award. I do it because I love what I’m doing,” she said.
“I am really grateful for the kind of role that I’ve taken, I love being with the girls and I love seeing them develop from when they come in in prep when they’re scared and intimidated and very shy to being leaders.
“It’s something really special and it’s why I stay there because I love seeing the spontaneity and responses of the girls to all the things that we do with them.”
Mrs Naunton first became a member of Girls’ Brigade Victoria, a Christian faith-based movement working with girls in prep to year 12, in 1961.
“I really appreciated the program, learning life skills and also being mentored by beautiful women who really showed the love of Christ because they were very caring, and I really liked doing all the activities whether it was craft or singing or adventure stuff.”
Following the completion of her HSC and further studies to become a teacher, Mrs Naunton was instrumental in initiating the first Kerang Girls’ Brigade, serving as its inaugural captain from 1972 to 1986.
From 1985 Mrs Naunton has called Bendigo home, serving as chaplain of the Bendigo Brigade for 10 years from 1987, captain from 1997 to 2000 and currently as a unit leader.
Despite her many leadership positions over the years in the organisation, Mrs Naunton said its success relies on teamwork with all members regardless of their status.
“When you’re working in Girls’ Brigade you’re working as a team so whilst you may be a key leader you’re not doing or achieving anything without the help of everybody else in the team.”