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The Awesomeness of ASLC: Through the Eyes of our Volunteers

By March 1, 2024Event, Schools, Team

 At yLead’s Australian Student Leadership Conference (ASLC), young leaders poised to enter their final year of school are equipped with tangible skills essential for successful leadership and community empowerment. ASLC is more than a conference; it’s a transformative experience that fosters connection, personal growth, and empowerment

In January 2024, ahead of a busy Term 1, yLead ran its signature Year 12 conference in five (5) locations. Students engaged in interactive workshops, heard from inspirational speakers, gained practical tools and strategised how to create meaningful change within their school communities. They learned to harness their unique strengths, understand diverse leadership styles, and implement impactful initiatives. This year’s ASLC offered a powerful space for connection and students formed supportive networks that look set to endure well beyond their school careers. By participating in ASLC, young leaders are not only prepared to excel in their final year of school but are also set on a path to becoming proactive, conscientious citizens.

Let’s have a peek at this year’s highlights…

Luxurious Locations

We began our ASLC journey in South East Queensland on 4th January 2024 at Union College, University of Queensland in St Lucia, setting the stage for three days of immersive leadership development. The adventure then continued as we headed to North Queensland, where, from 12th-14th January, Saints Catholic College at James Cook University in Townsville opened its doors to inspire the next generation of leaders. The journey didn’t stop there; from 15th-17th January, the rugged beauty of the Capricorn Caves in Rockhampton served as a backdrop for Central Queensland‘s young leaders to explore their potential. The conference then moved to South Australia, where, from 18th-20th of January, Nunyara Conference Centre provided a peaceful backdrop for a vibrant crowd to let go their inhibitions. Finally, the journey concluded in Victoria from 19th-21st of January at University College, University of Melbourne in Parkville, wrapping up a series of empowering events designed to shape the leaders of tomorrow.

Stupendous Speakers

Across these conferences and locations we were privileged to hear from 8 incredible speakers who each had a diverse and interesting perspective and story to share. These speakers helped provide motivation and inspire the students at ASLC.

Take a look at our incredible guest list!

  • Jack Growden, driven by a passion to tackle inequality and improve global access to digital technology, embarked on a transformative journey with LiteHaus. By donating a personal laptop to a school in Papua New Guinea, he laid the foundation for what would become a mission to equip over 202,000 students across Papua New Guinea, regional Australia, and beyond with essential digital learning tools. Committed to making a significant difference, Jack aims to impact one million people by 2030.
  • Zhanae Dodd, a dynamic leader and advocate for cross-cultural understanding and renewable energy, is the founder of Groove Co. and Burri Energy. Recognized for her contributions with nominations and awards, including the Australian Human Rights Youth Medal 2022, she actively promotes Indigenous voices on platforms like ABC’s The Drum and contributes to international relations discussions. Her versatile career spans journalism, marketing, and strategic consulting, with writing as her medium for connecting to her heritage and amplifying Indigenous experiences.
  • Claire Harris, co-founder of Hoedowns For Country Towns, led a 46,000km line-dancing tour across Australia, raising $38,250 for rural charities without encountering a single flat tire. With a background as an agricultural journalist and a degree in plant science from the University of Queensland, Claire’s diverse career path exemplifies her belief in hard work and self-confidence. Now a freelance writer in Adelaide, she plans to teach line dancing in South Australian schools starting 2024.
  • James Bannah, an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and entrepreneur, has established a significant presence in Adelaide’s music and mental health sectors. As the founder of SoundsOfAdelaide and co-CEO of Steelo Flow, he provides platforms for emerging musicians and creatives. Bannah, recognized with the SA Young Achiever Carclew Creative Awards 2023 and nominated for Australian of the Year and Young Australian of the Year in 2023, has collaborated with renowned artists and performed at major festivals.
  • Kurt Jones, transformed his difficult early life into a catalyst for change, founding Co-Exist Australia at just 19. Overcoming a troubled childhood and expulsions from school, Kurt’s high school years marked a turning point, igniting his passion for youth engagement, the outdoors, and conservation. Today, his organization is at the forefront of Australia’s conservation efforts, engaging young people with environmental activism and community involvement.
  • Tom Price, motivated by personal and observed struggles with youth mental health, founded You Are Not Alone in his junior year to destigmatize mental health issues among young people. Through initiatives like a short film and a significant awareness Fun Run in 2023, his organization has significantly expanded, funding mental health programs in Australian schools and fostering a supportive community dialogue on mental health.
  • Joshua Robson, a motivational speaker and testicular cancer survivor, founded Turn Up to share his journey of overcoming cancer, emphasizing the importance of health awareness, regular check-ups, and a positive outlook. His message focuses on resilience, the value of setting goals, and the support of a strong community.
  • David Titeu, founder of Linkmate, champions the fight against loneliness and suicide prevention through a social support network and emotional resilience workshops. His work, recognized with several awards, provides tools for mental health resilience and fosters a supportive community for those facing mental health challenges.

Mentor Memories

At each location yLead was further supported by its fabulous volunteer base, known as the yTeam. There was over 100 applications from our yTeam to be selected as a mentor at ASLC and the calibre of these young leaders is second to none! Once at ASLC each mentor was allocated a team of student participants to lead (called a ‘squad’). Our mentors are brimming with stories and takeaways from conference season too.

Here are some of their valued insights:

What was one of your highlights from ASLC?

Layla | ASLC VIC 

At the end of our ‘Real Me’ night on Day 2, I sat cross–legged in a circle with my squad, each of them clutching a piece of paper covered with the colourful messages of peers that had been strangers to them two days ago. The slow smiles that snuck onto their faces as each person saw themselves as they are seen by those around them, is something I will always remember. I believe that we show up best for others when we are aware of our own value. So, it made sense to me that it was on Day 3 that I left the room only to come back to find my squad with their arms around each other in a team huddle, the picture of solidarity.


The closing ceremony would have to be one of the best moments. Seeing not only the hard work that everyone had put in to their secret missions, but the bonds and friendships that had been made was extremely special. The space that yLead creates for young leaders is very unique, as it is rare that you get such a diverse group of like-minded young leaders in one space.


One of my highlights from ASLC in 2024 was witnessing the connections and bonds formed between the participants. They started as strangers, but after three days, they were life-long friends. This became apparent through the beauty of Real Me, where encouragement, support, and positivity resonated through the room. I love yLead for the community it creates in the limited amount of time.


One of my highlights from ASLC was being able to experience the conference from a mentors perspective. Being a mentor is so rewarding and an opportunity that I will never pass up or say no to. To see the leaders of 2024 grow within three days especially on our REAL ME night was truly remarkable and inspiring to see, and it reminded me of why I chose to come back to yLead.

How did ASLC help you grow as a mentor?

Layla | ASLC VIC 

Yes, absolutely. As someone who loves people and connection, but often experiences overwhelm and self-doubt, the prospect of mentoring at ASLC was an exciting yet daunting one. I soon found that due to the fast-paced nature of ASLC, and the responsibility I had as a mentor to support the completion of my squad’s secret mission and ensure everyone in my squad felt acknowledged and considered, there was little room for self-doubt. Because of this, I quickly learnt how to recognize doubts, acknowledge them, and then move on, in a way I haven’t been able to before. The support that I felt from fellow yLead volunteers, and from members of my squad was immeasurable. Because of these people, for one of the first times in my leadership journey, I was able to come out of ASLC, look at the decisions I’d made and the role I’d played and be content and proud of what I had achieved. This wasn’t because I’d met my expectations, it was because I found I was okay with anything, as long as I’d been the best version of myself.


I have slowly come to realise how much impact I can have, especially as a young male. Every time I am fortunate enough to be in a yLead space, I get the chance to connect with new people and share with as well as learn from inspiring individuals.


Yes, I really do believe ASLC has allowed me to grow personally. I never used to be a confident person, however, the empowering environment yLead creates truly encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and experience new things. The reason I decided to come back as a mentor in 2024 is because the yLead space not only allows the participants to develop, but also the mentors.


Personally, I can see growth from the start of ALSC to now, because being a mentor taught me how to further develop skills on how to work with very different people, admire different people’s opinions and strengths, but also I learnt how I can have a positive effect on the cohort of 2024.

How does ASLC set students up for Year 12 in 2024?

Layla | ASLC VIC 

By providing an environment in which students are surrounded by like-minded people with similar passions, goals and mindsets, ASLC allows students to connect both with themselves and with their peers in ways they may not have experienced before.

They are not only equipped with the tools they need to flourish in their 2024 leadership positions, but they are also given the opportunity to practice these skills within their squad meetings and secret missions. Once we have proven to ourselves that we are capable of employing skills such as running an effective meeting, making a pitch or delivering a speech, we are so much more likely to understand our value within a leadership team.

Furthermore, having the support of the yLead community and mentors for the next 12 months means that students not only have the capability of leading their school with confidence, but also a safety net to fall back on if it is needed. I think that the biggest way ASLC sets students up for Year 12 in 2024 is by reminding them that they will never be alone in their leadership.


I believe the Australian Student Leadership Conference is an amazing way to set up students to understand the difference they can make at school and in their community. Conference also teaches valuable lessons in resilience and determination, which ultimately sets participants up for a very successful and rewarding Year 12.


ASLC is the perfect opportunity for student leaders to gain as much knowledge as possible so that they can create an unforgettable senior year. It exposes them to challenging situations and allows them to adapt in their leadership team. Most importantly, ASLC teaches participants the simple things that can make the world better place and truly focuses on what’s beyond their senior year.


The Australian Student Leadership Conference helps and sets up the leaders of 2024 with the skills and newfound passion for leadership to further develop their schools in a positive light. The conference helps the students learn how to be confident, present, and it also helps them identify their strengths, their purpose, and who they want to be as leaders through their senior year and what legacy they leave. The students also learn how to run effective meetings, different learning styles, how to communicate authentically, how to engage an audience, how to resolve conflict, and also it teaches them that they can be successful in any sort of leadership team which was proved when squads were developed. The ASLC is an amazing experience for new school leaders

Future Focused: 

The Australian Student Leadership Conference (ASLC) journey across South East Queensland, North Queensland, Central Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria has been nothing short of a beacon of inspiration, thanks to our speakers and mentors alike with their diverse stories of resilience, innovation, and leadership, these role models have left an indelible mark on the young attendees, equipping them with a broader perspective on leadership and community service.

The yTeam’s reflections underscore the profound impact of the ASLC experience, highlighting the transformational journey of attendees from eager learners to empowered leaders. The shared stories of overcoming adversity, embracing challenges, and fostering connections embody the essence of ASLC, proving that leadership is not just about guiding others but also about self-discovery.

As these young leaders step into their final year of school, they carry with them more than just memories of an exciting conference. They are armed with practical leadership tools, a network of supportive peers, and an ignited passion to make a difference. ASLC has laid the foundation for these students to not only excel in their academic and extracurricular endeavours, but also to become conscientious, innovative, and compassionate leaders.