The Youth Leadership Academy has come to an end.
Great friendships and memories were created throughout the week. It was definitely difficult saying goodbye. Although we only had five days together, we all got to know one another on a personal level, which made the program even more exciting.
My biggest takeaway from the Academy is that everyone has the ability to create change. Even the slightest actions like recycling create a positive impact on the environment. The workshops were truly eye-opening. They covered topics from leadership skills to identity, and even environmental sustainability. From these workshops, I was able to get a better sense of what is going on in the world, and learn about myself and my style of leadership. My favorite memory was learning how to dance Pantsula because regardless of whether we got the moves right, we all had a blast.
A challenge that I faced was accepting that the Sustainable Development Goals project I want to carry out may not work. This was frustrating because I am very passionate about helping others, and hearing that my project may not be possible with my method was disappointing. Although I was discouraged, my group encouraged me not to give up. That’s what really made this year’s YLA attendees special. They were all very supportive and suggested excellent ideas. Knowing that there are more youth who are passionate about making the world a better place is motivating. Often, adults believe that the input of youth isn’t needed. There’s the impression that just because we are young, we are clueless. Yet 35 percent of the population is under the age of 30—and if adults are not willing to make changes, young people will take matters into their own hands and create powerful movements.
We may be young, but we are powerful. We are the future for change.