Nine very proud and accomplished young people planned, facilitated, and celebrated their 2020 Youth Leadership Program graduation at the Woodside Hall recently.
Family and friends couldn't wipe the smiles from their faces as they watched graduates Ashleigh, Jakob, Olivia, Ashantilee, Rylee, Kaia, Zac, Gemma, and RJ proudly receive their certificates from Acting Mayor Nathan Daniell.
"This program is so valuable and now at the end of its second year we continue to develop it and add depth for our young people to step up, have a range of opportunities and remain engaged as mentors," Acting Mayor Daniell said.
"We recognise that we don't know what is best in terms of program opportunities – it is actually our young people who know what support they are looking for.
"So, we looked to provide a program that would support our young people to learn and grow into the future leaders of the Adelaide Hills."
The Adelaide Hills Council Youth Leadership Program (YLP) offers young people aged 15-25 who live, socialise, or attend school in the Adelaide Hills district a unique and cost-free opportunity to build transferable professional skills, increase their confidence, and participate in memorable events and activities.
The YLP includes workshops facilitated by industry specialists and special guests focussing on essential leadership skills such as effective communication, goal setting, social media branding, entrepreneurship, public speaking, conflict resolution and negotiation, and event management.
Kaia Smith,14, was a YLP returning mentor who was keen to support other young people engage with all the workshops, so her peers got as much as possible out of them all.
"I feel so much joy when I see other young people doing well in the program and so to be back for the second time and supporting them make the most of their opportunity has been really rewarding," Kaia said.
"The event planning workshop was my favourite and to be part of this fabulous team that has brought this graduation event together is a really proud moment."
Zac Lambe, 18, also loved the event planning workshop and is already forging a career in the industry running a youth music festival.
"There was so much useful information I would really encourage all young people in the Adelaide Hills to get involved and be part of upcoming programs," Zac said.
"Everyone who attends the sessions is really open and very welcoming to each other so just give it a shot - you never know what is going to happen and what you are going to learn.
"Every workshop Mark organises is really valuable and he really has the ability to make all young people feel comfortable and welcome."
Youth and Recreation Community Development Officer, Mark de Lange, is certainly very proud of the graduates and says it is amazing to see how far they have come from largely being introverted and needing to develop social confidence to putting their graduation event together and successfully speaking in public.
"It has been a unique and challenging year but the conversations we have had along the way in the workshops and meetings shows the level of community awareness and commitment in this group," Mark said.
"Having learnt an abundance of new skills, and with rising confidence, this group of impressive young people will go a long way – congratulations to them all."
Click here for more information about the Adelaide Hills Council Youth Leadership Program, or follow Adelaide Hills Youth Leadership on Facebook.