In times of need, ‘Together Has Power’
On July 11-12, Brisbane based not-for-profit yLead connected 100 young people from 6 states and territories in Australia and 3 provinces in New Zealand. These inspiring young leaders spent 15 hours on their weekend immersed in a professional development experience exploring how to cope with the consistent changes in our current world.
The yLead Team annually design and deliver a conference for their volunteers called yConnect, a highly anticipated event in the community calendar. yConnect was curated to explore and answer one of life’s big questions and celebrate ‘Together Has Power‘. This year we asked, ‘what are the skills and tools that we need to thrive during a constant evolution?’
2020 has brought many changes and challenges, however the yLead team knew that despite regulations preventing our community from spending time together face-to-face, they still needed support, time to reflect and connection. Hence pivoting the conference to an online experience.
Online yConnect participant Georgia McAlpine from Perth, Western Australia, said that “it was a great reminder to myself of my strengths and why to take the next step, no matter how bold.”
The power of meaningful connection through shared experiences was a key driver in the development of the conference, brought to life by partnerships with other small organisations and connecting participants through the use of the breakout room function on Zoom.
One of yLead’s key values is ‘Together Has Power’. This was demonstrated over the duration of the event by both the support and strength in the yLead community, as well as aforementioned partnerships.
Over the two-day conference, yLead welcomed former yLead volunteer Mikhara Ramsing, founder of Mik’s Chai, as well as teams from The AUSLAN Company, Auckland Deaf Society and youth organisations The Man Cave and Flourish Girl to facilitate sessions for the young participants.
Mikhara shared her personal journey and passion for story sharing through her social enterprise Mik’s Chai. She shared her belief that “when anger is met with empathy, that is when we evolve.”
Her message was amplified by the other activities during the two-day event, including an opportunity to learn sign language, a toolkit to adjust to change workshop, a future vision boarding session and a group activity run by Man Cave and Flourish Girl for participants to see beyond the surface and internally reflect.
yLead CEO, Bel Yorston, commented that “I am always humbled by our community but in particular during yConnect as so many signed up to the experience albeit their scepticism of an online experience. Personally, before COVID, I also held many judgements around the value and depth of an online connection,
“However, we have proven that building an open and inclusive space (even online) can aid young people in creating the support they need to speak up for who they are and what they stand for. It is incredibly impactful. Our world is changing and so must our doubts about the pivots we are performing as leaders,” Bel says.
The yLead community have remained more connected than ever while staying home, proving that through ‘Together Has Power‘, meaningful connections can be made online.
Although 2020 has been unexpected, it has proven to the yLead community that through challenge and adversity we can embrace change, then we will continue to grow and EVOLVE.
– Izzy Gardener | Reach Team