At the beginning of 2014 I came up with the idea for a Youth Committee. The idea was for the Youth Committee to provide LYF with direct feedback from the teens as well as simultaneously facilitating personal growth and leadership development within the Youth Committee. After some consultation and planning with the mentor committee we announced the program to the senior teens at our March camp.
There were mixed reviews from the teens. Some were very keen for the responsibility while others were apprehensive about doing a speech in front of their peers. By the end of camp 4 teens were selected to constitute the very first LYF Youth Committee.
This project was definitely not a walk in the park. It required a lot of planning and organisation. Something the teens on the Youth Committee now appreciate.
The Youth Committee and I met four times during the year. Our first meeting was a lot fun. We went to a farm outside of Perth to do some team bonding; we went riding around in a ute, feeding lambs, climbing headers(?), doing archery and generally getting to know each other.
At our second committee meeting when I explained how the LYF committee plans each Big Day Out - the teens were flabbergasted! None of them could believe the amount of effort and consideration that went into organizing LYF events. One teen was particularly impressed by the effort to make development activities fun. I explained how fun activities allow the teens to work with their mentor on a project, talk things through, re-evaluate, modify and produce a final project – teamwork! Another teen challenged whether wheelchair basketball was fun or development? Both! I explained how this activity challenged the teens to try something new and allowed them to see able bodied and disabled people in a new light.
The culmination of the LYF Youth Committee was Big Day Out 4. After learning about planning, time constraints, budgeting and realistic expectations, the Youth Committee hosted their Christmas Lunch at the Swanbourne Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday November 29th, 2014. BDO 4 was all about celebrating with friends and spending quality time with teens and mentors. The event was a huge success with great food, fun activities and time for reflection on the year past.
The Youth Committee should be so proud of what they’ve accomplished. They accepted a lot of responsibility and really pushed themselves. I can’t wait to get started with the next group of special teens.
Sorcha Stapleton, Youth Committee Officer