Program guides Shire’s future leaders

Eleven students from secondary schools and alternative education institutions across Cardinia Shire have graduated from Council’s 2013 Young Leaders program.

The innovative, Council-funded program targets students who demonstrate leadership attributes and qualities. It allows students to build on these abilities and develop other life skills, which can then be utilised in their schools, homes and local community.

Students from Beaconhills College, Emerald Secondary College, Maranatha Christian School, Pakenham Secondary College, St Francis Xavier College, OzChild VCAL, Oakwood School and Community College Gippsland were nominated for this year’s program by their teachers.

As part of the initiative, participants attended a two-day camp in June. The camp featured workshops hosted by the Oaktree Foundation, the Youth Advisory Council Victoria and by Cardinia Shire’s healthy living ambassador and world champion aerial skier, Jacqui Cooper.

The experience inspired students to expand their views and connect with other leaders. They also created their own community projects, based on social justice issues they are passionate about.

Mentors then helped the students deliver the projects, which featured themes including anti-bullying, R U OK? Day, dealing with stress, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Mayor Brett Owen said the program showed Council’s commitment to investing in Cardinia Shire’s young people.

He congratulated program graduates at a presentation at the Cardinia Cultural Centre.

“You should all feel excited and energised about what the future holds. We hope to see you playing key leadership roles in your local community in years to come.”

Council’s Youth Services Coordinator Emma Carter said the Young Leaders program, which has been operating since 2005, is always enlightening, challenging and rewarding for participants.

“Hopefully participants have emerged from the program feeling inspired to write their own destinies and to use their leadership skills and qualities in powerful and positive ways.”