Two young Clutha leaders will be travelling outside the district, and their comfort zones, later this month.
But both are also looking forward to the challenges and confidence boost that will come from representing the district at the Aspiring Leaders’ Forum in Wellington, which starts on June 27.
The forum is targeted at young people who show leadership potential in their community and are inspired to challenge themselves to grow as people.
This year the Clutha District Council is sponsoring Tegan Hollows (22) and Olivia Pirie (23) to attend the four-day gathering of young people from across the country.
Miss Pirie, who is a pool attendant, said she was excited but quite nervous as she felt she would be out of her comfort zone interacting with such a diverse group of young people and having to discuss leadership from a young person’s point of view.
“At the forum you really have to participate verbally and interact with people .. It’s quite a bit different from being a contestant in a beauty queen pageant at your local A&P show.
“But I am going there to be inspired and I am sure I will get a lot out of this,” Miss Pirie said.
An accountant and keen rugby player, Miss Hollows said she was hoping to gain confidence and leadership skills.
“I hope to learn more about public speaking and gain the confidence to take charge at the forum,” she said.
The Aspiring Leaders’ Forum is for young people aged between 18 and 26 and aims to help them become better leaders, be it in the community, the arts, business, politics or sport.
Over the four days participants will discuss why “faith and values” are foundational in informing and developing character and leadership skills.
Council community development adviser Jean Proctor has helped send 16 aspiring young leaders from the district to the annual forum during the seven years she has been involved with it.
“From having been involved for a number of years now, I think one of the most valuable outcomes is that everyone who attends will carry the experience and learning with them for life. The delegates develop lasting friendships and supportive connections with each other and in turn some of the young people who have attended from Clutha district have returned to take part as facilitators at future forums.
“This year we have two previous delegates, Richard Blair and Josh Wyber, doing just that.
“For the Clutha district the return value to the community of sponsoring some of our key youth resource is immeasurable,” she said.
In most cases the delegates from the district were a little nervous about attending the forum.
“When I meet with them I hear that they are more than a tad nervous about attending and that is understandable, as knowingly stepping outside of your comfort zone with no guarantee or knowledge of what is going to be asked of you takes plenty of guts and courage.
“When we ask what is the driving reason for them to want to attend the forum, I hear a lot about how they want to give back to the community.
“Another aspect that is somewhat scary for them is that on returning from the forum delegates have to deliver a public presentation to the Clutha District Youth Council about the experience.
“You should know that post-forum, it is the exact opposite – they cannot wait to share their experience of the forum with others.
“I hear always that the forum brings about forever changes to them.
“Something else I hear on return is about how they want to work with the community – impressive that ‘give back’ has now changed to ‘work with’.
“Our youth are such valuable participants of our community, supporting them to grow, learn and reach their maximum potential is a privilege,” Mrs Proctor said.