FOUR Wimmera youth are heading to Melbourne for the Baldau Yiooghen Youth Leadership Academy tomorrow.
Dimboola’s Niah Boundy, Kaitlyn Beeton and Tristan Rayes and Kaniva’s Ethan Councillor are representing their communities this year.
The Baldau Yiooghen Youth Leadership Academy is an initiative lead by Anglicare and The Long Walk in partnership with Horsham’s Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative and Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative.
The program hopes to inspire young Indigenous people to strive towards their educational, employment and leadership goals.
The academy’s name means ‘big dreams’ in the Wurundjeri language.
Tristan, who is 17 years old, is a school captain at the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.
He said he was nominated to attend the youth leadership program for this year.
“I was nominated to attend this year’s program, but the reason why I am taking part is because I thought it would be a good thing to represent my school because I am school captain and to have this new experience” he said.
Tristan said he unsure on what the experience could bring, but he hopes to develop and expand on new skills to help him in his current and future leadership positions.
Ethan, who is 15-years old, said he was nominated for the program because he should strong leadership skills in his community.
I thought it would be a good thing to represent my school because I am school captain and to have this new experienceTristan Rayes
He said he hoped the new experience would help him learn more about the Indigenous culture and life lessons.
The four young Indigenous people will participate in the ten-day program. They have travelled to Melbourne for five-days today. Later in the year, they will travelled to Darwin for the remaining days for a northern experience.
Horsham residents and former program participants Tanisha Lovett and Danae McDonald helped launch this year’s program.
The pair gave speeches at the launch about their experiences from the program and how it has helped them in their everyday lives.
Tanisha said the program helped build her confidence levels and opened her eyes to different opportunities for Indigenous youth.