Our Young Award Leader training day was a huge success last weekend with motivated, determined and passionate young women and men coming together to talk about leadership and what makes a good YAL. If you’re interested or missed out on the day, two of our fabulous YALs, Erica Lim and Isabel Wright have written the perfect recap just for you!

Starting out on a chilly Saturday morning, soon-to-be YAL’s from various location across Victoria headed into the hipster heart of Melbourne city – Collingwood.

From Doncaster, Erica and Caitlin started off on a bad foot with a dodgy soy chai latte from the local barista. From the Eastern suburbs, Georgie, Brianna and Isy met up in Blackburn and took off to Collingwood.

As both groups arrived at their destination, Erica and Caitlin soon realised they had walked a block too far. Calling Georgie for backup, they discovered the others had been wandering up and down the street, counting the building numbers and praying that we weren’t meant to be in one of the creepy abandoned buildings with a Chucky doll in the downstairs window.

Erica and Caitlin soon found the others huddling for warmth at the end of an unmoving line in a hipster coffee shop. Once rescued, the five followed each other duckling style to the building where a sticky note directed them to take the elevator from a building with a never-ending roof. Once the soon-to-be YALs reached their destination via the terrifying duplicating glass elevator, the adventure began.

One after another, Duke of Ed participants slowly trickled into the building and hesitantly sat down on the chairs, couches and bean bags provided. After some hasty introductions and a unique game of “name your favourite chip flavour”, Ash gave a quick induction and Q&A session to YAL and Duke of Ed as a whole.

Before morning tea was served, we embarked upon another getting-to-know-you game, where we mingled with the other trainees. Next up on our plates was the trip down memory lane with the delicious morning tea snacks consisting of LCMs and all the segregation of people according to their favourite flavour of chip: Salt and Vinegar, Original or Honey Soy Chicken.

Still trailing chip crumbs, we assembled back onto our various seating arrangements and were fortunate enough to have Jules Blundell wow us with her psychic powers (or maybe just internet stalking skills). Jules proceeded to give us a rundown on how to build our online profiles, how to improve our Adventurous Journey records, and showed us some iPhone accessories to up our record game.

“Young Award Leaders slowly trickled out of the facility with heavy hearts but newfound friends and many new skills….. headed for the train station full of ideas, inspiration and impatience for the next training session.”

Just a little bit before Jules wrapped up her informative speech, the pizza was delivered. Hungry teenagers made a mad dash towards the converted ping-pong table, and wolfed down one piece after the other to fill their empty stomachs. While we ate and socialised, Jules circled around with a fancy camera filming and taking memorable photos of us.

Gracing us with her presence, Anoushka, the CEO of Duke of Ed for Victoria, came in to pick our brains before introducing the 2014 YAL award winners Amanda and Sophie Fontaine . These lovely girls imparted their knowledge and experience to us and acted out hilarious scenarios outlining the characteristics of a good or bad YAL.

After a snack break we met Darcy, who highlighted the importance of communication in a team through a game of silent knots, followed by a pungent game of magical shoes which acted as as the one-way ticket to cross a rapid and deadly river. Afterwards, all of us took turns in presenting an on-the-spot one minute public speaking activity about a random topic given by fellow participants.

Our very last activity as a group was discovering our own strengths and weaknesses, and where our method of thinking fits on a compass. North being a warrior, East being a visualiser, South being a healer, and West being a teacher.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Young Award Leaders slowly trickled out of the facility with heavy hearts but with newfound friends and many new skills. After snapping a quick photo and frantically adding our new friends on Facebook, Erica and Caitlin departed Collingwood for a bus stop, with Georgie, Brianna and Isy hot on their heels, headed for the train station full of ideas, inspiration and impatience for the next training session.



“I was so excited and pleased with the way the day turned out! Everyone was great and I think YALS 2016 will be the best yet!” – Ashlea Witoslawski, Programs and Relationships Coordinator

“I am so excited that we became closer as a group and I am looking forward to working with such a fab team over the next year.”
– Joseph Bruce, Young Award Leader

“The YAL leadership day enabled me to connect with like minded people and through fun filled activities, broaden and develop my leadership skills to become a motivational, supportive and enthusiastic YAL.” – Caitlin Louey, young Award Leader

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