Youth Leadership Camp 2017

Empowering young people to develop their leadership skills is a great investment in the future. And thanks to Community Bank® branches, thirty-five students recently had the opportunity to do just that at the Portsea Youth Leadership Camp.

The camp is an initiative of our Melbourne–Peninsula region’s Community Bank® branches and run with the help of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Youth Services team.

The aims of the camp are to:

·encourage young people to cultivate leadership qualities and skills
·provide them with meaningful and sustainable leadership opportunities
·inspire them to participate actively in their communities
·empower them to engage in social change and solving social problems in their communities
·enhance community-connectedness and contribute to social and health outcomes in the region

Year 10 and 11 students from Mornington Peninsula secondary colleges were invited to attend the four-day camp. A program of workshops and activities led the students through identifying leadership styles and techniques, communication, social responsibility and team work. They were given plenty of opportunities to work on leading activities and managing teams.
This is the second year the camp has been run, and five participants from the 2016 event returned to complete a second phase of leadership programs and mentor the first-time attendees this year.

“The young people in our community are a source of inspiration and energy that is, in many cases, untapped. They have so much to offer community organisations and groups that are struggling to find contributors,” said Mt Eliza Community Bank® branch Director, Alex Godfrey. “Events like this camp are a great way for us as community leaders to connect with, mentor and support them.”

Students attending the camp were enthusiastic and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to attend the event—which was fully funded by the region’s Community Bank® branches.

“Portsea Camp is really great. Learning about all the styles of leadership and how and when to use them was really interesting,” said Tui, a year 10 student from Mt Eliza Secondary College.

Youth workers from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Youth Services team organised and conducted the camp program. “We had a really fantastic group this year, and it was such a pleasure to work with them to build their leadership skills.” said youth worker Matt Sudomlak, who is based at The Corner Youth Centre in Mornington.

Jo Horton from Mojo Leadership (who is also a Director of the Mt Eliza Community Bank® branch) facilitated workshops on socially responsible leadership for a small group of year 11 mentors. Topics included communication, presence and style as a leader and the key role values play in leadership. The focus was community enterprise business models and ways for people to solve community problems with innovative solutions.

Bendigo Bank’s Community Bank® model is an example of this type of enterprise—which is in business to contribute to the financial health and wellbeing of communities.

“Community Banks are a really great illustration of a creative way of doing business at a grass roots level for the benefit of local people,” said Jo. “Young people are really excited and inspired by the creativity of these type of business models, and the impact they can have.” she said.

“I’ve learned a lot at the camp, and know that the tips and skills can be used when I get back home,” said Bella from Mt Eliza Secondary College.

All the students who attended the camp will stay in touch with their local Community Bank® branch, with a view to further involvement in community activities and engagement. We can’t wait to see how the young leaders in our region develop their skills and take the lessons they have learned out into our communities.