FOR the past 22 years, the Movers and Shakers: Christian Youth Leadership Training Program has been helping young people develop leadership skills and knowledge to use in their local parish and school communities.
This year 81 young leaders aged 16-25 years from across the state gathered at the James Byrne Centre in Toowoomba for another exciting and challenging week of training.
An initiative of the Queensland Catholic Diocesan Youth Co-ordinators and the Queensland bishops, Movers and Shakers has been run annually since 1990.
Bringing together young people from schools, parishes and youth organisations and movements, the program encourages participants to practise their leadership skills within a safe community atmosphere.
Participants from Brisbane, Townsville, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Darwin and Ballarat dioceses attended this year’s program.
They brought with them a diverse range of cultural backgrounds and leadership experience.
Brisbane archdiocese’s youth ministry co-ordinator Michael Hart said this year’s program was another great success.
“We were very blessed with the amazing group of young leaders attending this year’s program,” Michael said.
“You can’t help but be impressed by these young people who really stretch themselves throughout the week. They are challenged to look at their leadership toolkit and work out what new tools they need and what tools they have that need to be sharpened.”
During the week, participants were challenged individually and in small groups to work on problem-solving, teamwork and adventure-based activities. The program also included various creative workshops tailored to more closely meet the participants’ individual needs.
Emily Carmichael, a student from Sacred Heart Parish, Mildura, Victoria, said this year’s program developed her confidence in her leadership skills.
“I had the most amazing experience. I definitely learnt and changed,” Emily said.
“My confidence really grew. The whole week was moving and spiritual and it let me be aware of what skills I have and need to work on.”
One of the strengths of the program lies in its ability to combine a great mix of theory and practical leadership development with different activities to challenge participants.
It also is provides a place where young leaders can network with others involved in youth ministry from across the state.
Rockhampton diocesan youth ministry co-ordinator Lauren Cole can already see the transformation that has taken place in the participants from her diocese.
“This year’s program has certainly been one of the largest programs that the Rockhampton diocese has participated in,” she said.
“During the week, it was incredible to observe the significant changes that could be seen happening amongst the young people.
“Since returning home, it has been fantastic to hear the enthusiasm and motivation that the Rockhampton diocesan participants have expressed in wanting to share with their communities the new and sharpened leadership tools they gained throughout the week.”
Planning is already underway for next year’s Movers and Shakers program. Anyone interested in finding out more about Movers and Shakers can check out the website www.movers-and-shakers.org.au or contact their diocesan youth ministry co-ordinator.
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