Larry Waller, Head of Training, reflects on his visit to two regional communities, Cummins and Tumby Bay, to attend YO’s Personal Leadership Graduations – and witnessed first-hand the incredible difference that Youth Opportunity makes in regional communities and beyond.
Toward the end of 2019, after being in post as Head of Training for Youth Opportunities for about six months, I had the pleasure of going to a Personal Leadership Program (PLP) Graduation ceremony at Cummins Area School.
Off I flew to Port Lincoln, and then a short drive to Cummins to help the trainers on their last day of training before the graduation. Prior to travelling, I was inundated with positive vibes about Tumby Bay and Cummins. The beautiful country vistas, the beach, the old rickety looking Jetty and the amazing art in the streets. I was excited and fired up to meet some new people at the schools, pop in to meet a youth organisation in Port Lincoln that was doing some great work, and attend a graduation, which let’s face it, are an honor to attend.
As I took a break between the end of the program delivery and graduation I went to a pub in Cummins and had a bite to eat. In the bar was a very exuberant lively young man who asked me what I was doing in the town. He was interested in my clearly British accent, and his curiosity led to him inquiring about my reason for being in the town.
I mentioned Youth Opportunities…
The reaction he had when I mentioned the words Youth Opportunities was instantaneous and enthusiastic. He told me about the time he had been on the program, how amazing it was, how he had benefitted from the tools and concepts, how he had grown in confidence and how the whole town loves the program.
In my role, I had heard how people loved the program, how schools loved the program and how teachers loved the program, but I had not heard about how a whole community loved the program. Amazing I thought and, off I went to the graduation which was amazing, uplifting, emotional and enlightening – all the things it constantly delivers.
After the graduation I went to Tumby Bay, where I was booked to spend the night before my visit to the Tumby Bay Area School.
The next day, up bright and early, I walked along a serene beach towards the bakery to have some breakfast. I was served by a lovely lady who was as curious and inquisitive as the bartender from Cummins. After a short conversation, establishing my reason for being in Tumby, it turned out that she too had also done the Youth Opportunities Personal Leadership Program, but at Tumby Bay Area School.
She was so complimentary about how the whole community talks about the program, discussing the tools used on the program and telling me how lucky I was to be involved with Youth Opportunities.
As I reflect on that great visit, spending just a few short days in this fantastic community, I further understood the power of Youth Opportunities. A personal leadership program that works in schools at year 10, giving so much to those who attend from these regional schools, with an impact that is then amplified to changing a whole community and how it behaves, thinks and feels about each other. What a great thing that is, and who wouldn’t value that in their lives and their community.