Tumby Bay Graduation: A Reflection


Speaking with Youth Opportunities Trainer, Chelsea, you can tell that her passion for young people, and her community, is overflowing. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Chelsea, who previously trained with Youth Opportunities, to get her thoughts on her experience in delivering the Personal Leadership Program during Term 3 in Tumby Bay.

“This was my first time delivering the Youth Opportunities Personal Leadership Program, since coming back as a trainer with the organisation in the early 2000s. And it was just as incredible as I remembered it to be. Each young person in our group embraced the program concepts early on, and it was fantastic to see them all apply them to their individual situations and taking what was pertinent to their lives.

However, one of our graduates’ story of change really resonated with me. He came into the group disengaged, lacking confidence, and having made his mind up already about how the rest of his life was going to play out.

During the program, we saw him gradually begin to open up, to start to understand that he could rewrite his own story. Youth Opportunities opened his eyes to his greater potential, and to more opportunities than he had ever given himself permission to think of, which was just fantastic to witness.

By understanding he could do better, and that he deserved to be better, he began to feel good about himself and he got the most out of the program. He now has a toolkit on how to get to where he wants to go in his life – which is much more than he originally thought he was capable of.

He was the one that, for me, really flew in this program.”

After hearing about just how great the graduation was in Tumby Bay – where a whole town came together to celebrate its young people –we wanted to get Chelsea’s view on that too.

“I was just so proud of them. They had invested in themselves to get to where they are today, and it really showed as they walked into the graduation space.

The graduation room was decorated just so beautifully by one of our supporters, it made each of the graduates and their families understand the importance of the day. It was their time to shine, and showcase themselves, and the atmosphere in the room reflected that.

I loved that our community came together to support the graduation. As well as parents, friends, families, the local police all turned up to support these young people. I had parents telling me afterwards just how amazing they thought their kids were. It meant a lot that we could create a space where that could happen.

I think, for our graduates, having the Port Lincoln Times turn up to take photos and interview them was also really special. It showed them the value we all see in them, and how proud we, as a community, are of their achievements.”

Youth Opportunities joint Head of Fundraising, Kerin Hayden, also attended this graduation and shared a similar sentiment to Chelsea as she reflected on her experience.

“There is something really special about regional programs and graduations, as you get to see the impact on such a systemic level. The sense of community, and the genuine investment they have in supporting their young people through the program, and seeing them achieve, is amazing –and Tumby Bay was no exception.

From the local police officer who presented the certificates; the principal who helped to read a student’s message, to the partner of the trainer who set up the graduation space with some personal touches –including a space for the community to leave messages for the graduates. It was a moment in time that I am sure they will remember for a lifetime.

What stood out for me was as the students read their testimonies, you could tell that everyone there was invested and celebrating their journey. After the graduation, all the graduates and families sat together for dinner, and it was so nice to have the opportunity to hear the parents and friends sharing the changes they have seen in the graduates.”

We are incredibly grateful to the support of all our donors and partners, especially FRRR (Foundation of Regional & Rural Renewal), The Wyatt Trust and Tumby Bay District Community Bank Branch, who helped make the Tumby Bay Personal Leadership Program possible. Our ability to deliver our services are only limited by the funds we can raise, to support each program, so we are very appreciative of all support.


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