Empowering the Next Generation of Rural Leaders: January Young Rural Leaders Program

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From January 15th to 19th, a cohort of 27 dedicated participants converged at YMCA Lake Dewar Lodge for Youthrive Victoria’s Young Rural Leaders Program, an experience aimed at nurturing leadership skills and fostering a sense of community among young individuals from rural and regional Victoria. 

Structured around the core pillars of sustainable me, sustainable community, and sustainable environment, the program encompassed a spectrum of activities designed to instil leadership qualities and promote future-oriented thinking. A dedicated day was allocated to Leadership Learning and Future Planning, ensuring participants gained valuable insights into their potential roles as leaders in rural communities.

The program’s curriculum featured an array of team-building exercises, reflective sessions, and engaging bonding activities, both individual and group-based. Stand-up paddleboarding with YMCA and the exploration of Placemaking emerged as notable highlights. At the culmination of the Placemaking activity, participants generated innovative ideas to take back to their respective communities.

Ella, the Program Manager, shared her observations on the participants’ development throughout the week, stating, “Witnessing the evolution of the group has been truly remarkable. From initial nervousness on day one to forming strong bonds by the end of the week, the growth is evident and inspiring.”

Beyond skill development, the program played a crucial role in facilitating connections among like-minded individuals. Ella highlighted a noteworthy instance where three participants, previously unacquainted, discovered their shared enrolment at Longerenong Agricultural College—an illustration of the program’s capacity to forge lasting connections.

Participant feedback reflects the program’s impact:

  • “Very entertaining and engaging, the program was well set out and very fun.”
  • “Great opportunity to meet diverse, like-minded people.”
  • “Absolutely amazing – best week of my life.”
  • “This program was so incredible; I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
  • “The content was engaging, allowing me to think deeply independently and as part of groups.”

The success of the January Young Rural Leaders Program underscores its significance in shaping the next generation of dynamic leaders in rural and regional Victoria. Youthrive Victoria extends sincere gratitude to all contributors who played a pivotal role in making this program a resounding success.