Quantum Support Services successfully hosted the Victorian Rural/Regional Youth Conference yesterday at Kernot Hall in Morwell. I was very inspired by the workshops I attended. Sophie Weldon from the Foundation for Young Australians(FYA) gave an inspiring keynote to launch into the day. I have been following the FYA online and Sophie represented well the passion and innovation that I have seen.
My first session was with Paul Turton who talked about Coaching Inspiration and Effective Engagement. Paul shared the experience of the Detour Innovation Action Project with Melbourne City Mission. I liked the strength based approach and I believe that the use of coaches who draw on optimism and working with responsibility and peer coaching would be effective and sustaining for all involved.
The Oxygen Project induced a little envy in me – especially when I heard they got their building up in such a short period. I’m oversimplifying because a lot went into the consultation with youth and partnership with council. It’s a very inspiring model and I enjoyed seeing the results of connection and participation in the City of Moreland.
The panel presentation with Crystal Goertz from Mirabel Foundation, Adam Pulford who was Australian Youth Representative to United Nations in 2013 and two members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition provided some great insight into how participation and leadership is being redefined by these youth leaders.
They all spoke of the traditional superstar leader archetype as outmoded and even disempowering to many young people who have passion and want to take action yet don’t see themselves in that way. They were inclusive and saw the value in empowering the voices and passion of the less extroverted, those that wouldn’t be interested in standing out yet have much to offer. They expressed how the ability to speak up and represent can be developed in young people when offered a chance.
Adam became involved in youth affairs through the ‘Make Poverty History’ road trips. When I hear young people like these four talk about their journey to leadership and the way they seek to empower others I can’t help to feel our future is safe in their hands. Crystal opened the discussion powerfully when she spoke about the passion and voice of young people and the importance of being heard. I had to reflect on my past practice a few times during their talk. They spoke about teachers who present the ‘Make Poverty History’ and ‘Climate Change’ discussions in ways that don’t empower young people to take action and I know I have at times been prescriptive about these issues and have bored rather than empowered students.
My final session was with Jon Staley, who shared his experience with Youthworx. He was engaging and shared his story of working with disadvantaged young people to educate and empower expression and creativity to give them education in an alternative setting. His organisation is a media production training, social enterprise that employs graduates of the training provided. He spoke about creating the right space and using the best tools and resources and his work is achieving great results.
I couldn’t attend the last session as prior commitments called, but I have to say thank you to Quantum Support Services for providing a great day of learning for me.