Leading Youth Forward is proud of the ongoing contribution they are able to make to the Perth youth community. Since 2011 the volunteer organisation has worked tirelessly to engage 80+ disadvantaged teens annually into one-on-one mentorships and a year-long program featuring development focused activities.
Over the past financial year the charity has celebrated some significant milestones. Most significantly the organisation changed its name from Uni Camp For Teens, to Leading Youth Forward in November of 2014.
The decision to change our name followed a year of consultation and brainstorming with our volunteers, teens, families and social workers. Through this change we know that the name will more clearly describe our role and activities. Furthermore, while we continue to be affiliated with Uni Camp For Kids, this name change more clearly describes to families and supporters that we are a separate and unique organisation. We launched the name change to our volunteers, families, stakeholders and supporters at a special event at The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia in November of 2014. Thank you to social worker Alex Hughes, and parent Laurel Earl for each addressing the audience and reflecting on what the program offers them and their communities.
In this past financial year we also saw a change to the management committee where, for the first time since its inception in 2011, the committee was made up of volunteers, none of whom had been on the founding committee. While this transition was smooth and natural, it represents an important milestone and signifies the ability of the organisation to continue sustainably and successfully by sourcing leadership and essential organisational support from its own volunteers.
Through the 2014/2015 financial year we have focused on effectively and sustainably delivering on our promise to offer a meaningful and enriching experience to both our teens and volunteers. This has seen a number of important shifts in how we deliver our programs. In the past year we spent more time educating teens and families on what we hope to achieve with Leading Youth Forward. This saw us attend all three Uni Camp For Kids summer camps and spend 30minutes with each graduating teen group to inform them of the program. In doing so, we aimed to prepare them for the transition from UCFK, a primarily respite and activity focused format, to LYF with a model based on mentorship and development. We also sent them home with an information pack for their carers and parents. We believe this better prepares the teens and families for our program, and in doing so improves attendance, participation and behaviour. Throughout the year we have more clearly revealed the goals of the activities to our teens. By having a clear development theme for each event (eg, confidence, culture, etc) we believe the teens are more capable of reflecting and learning from the experience. We plan to continue this focus and model development in 2015/2016.
We have no doubt that 2015/16 will be another successful year and that LYF will continue to generate positive conversations and actions addressing youth disadvantage in our community. We are excited to see our services continue to expand and bring positive benefits to the youth of Perth.