Thursday, 18 August 2022

Firstly, to the participants, congratulations on your achievement in completing the Youth Governor’s Leadership Foundation program! Well done.

This achievement is even more impressive as you have undertaken the program over and above your school studies.

Year 10 is an important time in your life, one where you will begin to chart your futures and the pathways you will undertake.

By dedicating your time, energy and commitment to the program, and at times being taken out of your comfort zone, you will have gained important skills to help shape that future.

From here you will all take different paths, but a common foundation will be the ability to be draw on the confidence and abilities you have gained.

I am sure you have experienced how collaboration, and embracing diverse perspectives and insights brings strength to outcomes.

The various community projects have enabled you to make a difference to not-for-profit organisations that are tackling vital issues such as poverty, youth engagement, human rights, intergenerational partnerships, supporting charities.

You might have initially thought: I am young, how can I influence or contribute to solutions for such seemingly far-reaching issues in society?

Rest assured that young voices are important voices and are vital to sparking new ideas and generating new ways of doing things to achieve great outcomes.

I am sure you were able to bring immense expertise in social media and “cool ideas” to raise awareness about your community groups, or to provide ideas for projects that will assist their mission.

You have all demonstrated leadership.

Bear in mind that leaders aren’t just those who head governments, or manage businesses or run organisations or schools.

Good leaders are found everywhere and leadership is potentially in each and every one of us.

Leaders see a way to make a difference and find ways to improve the way we do things. They connect with people – people of diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking, not just people like them - and they bring everyone along. Importantly, leaders communicate with others and help tell the story of achievement.

They are part of and contribute to their communities.

They – you – can help shape the future.

I hope this program may even have planted a leader “seed” in your minds. Over time, with careful nurturing – and your own interest and determination, should you decide to bring those to bear, it will grow.  One day your leadership seed might even become a leadership tree within your own community, or even our state, our country or the world.

To your parents and school representatives, I thank you for your support and encouragement offered to these young people – for being there to help them over the hurdles, to be a sounding board, to help them build resilience and grow their leadership - and to be proud of them.

To the community organisations, thank you for enabling the participants to make a real-world contribution.

As patron, I congratulate the Leaders Institute of South Australia for its vision and stewardship of its development programs.

By creating a powerful sense of connection between individuals, their organisations and the wider community, you are developing leaders with an outward focus and strong collaboration skills and helping to create a better future for all.