Western Bulldogs Leadership Project participants learn new skills

Posted Tuesday 20 August, 02:10pm

Aspiring young leaders have been learning new skills, making new contacts and growing into more confident people over the past few months as they work their way through the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation’s Leadership Project.

Holly McAdie, Jack Cameron, Joshua Atkinson, Max Willmott, Natasha Ferguson and Samuel Cairns have completed five workshops and taken part in two camps, with learning activities focussed on goal setting, self-awareness, group dynamics, social responsibility and project building.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said the initiative, aimed at 14-16 year olds, has run in the municipality for the past two years and this year has been co-sponsored by Central Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network.

Dr Harrison said the two camps the young people attended centred on leadership, while the workshops have covered mental health, intercultural understanding, social inclusion and gender equality.

“The Western Bulldogs Community Foundation team running the program have been very impressed with the growth of participants, who have gone from shy young people to more much confident humans in the space of a few months,” he said.

“The program is a fantastic way for our young to develop skills and confidence, build networks and enjoy themselves along the way.”

Western Bulldogs Youth Development Coordinator Salim Mohamed said at the second camp, Ararat participants teamed up with their counterparts from Glenelg Shire to come up with a futuristic entrepreneurship idea to present to Powercor staff.

“The idea they developed was a R.O.C.C.E.T (Robotic Ocean Cleaner Creating Eco Towns), a robot that drives into the ocean to pick up waste that has been dumped, bring it back to shore then recycle it and turn it into bricks to build houses for the homeless,” Mr Mohamed said.

“The project covered teamwork, presentation skills and time management, and the young people came up with a really creative idea with a noble cause that would be sure to have great social impact.”

Mr Mohamed said the camp also included plenty of leadership activities and campsite activities such as archery and high ropes and was rounded off by participants attending a Western Bulldogs home game, where they met Bulldogs player Ben Cavarra.

CGLLEN Executive Officer Jessica Paterson said the organisation was proud to support the program. 

“This is just one of the ways we are helping empower our young people to connect with opportunities in the local area,” Ms Paterson said. 

“The students involved in the program have gained so much confidence in themselves and their ability, which will be invaluable to them when it comes to their education and working life.”

The Ararat Youth Leadership group is also working on a local project, a fundraiser event on September 20 to raise awareness and funds for mental health with all money raised going towards a local charity to be decided.

Photo above: leadership project participants Natasha Ferguson, Holly McAdie, Western Bulldogs player Ben Cavarra, Max Willmott, Jack Cameron and Samuel Cairns.