Young leaders challenged and inspired at summit

04 December 2019

More than 130 Year 5 students from 32 Catholic primary schools converged on Chisholm Catholic College for CEWA’s annual Catholic Primary School Youth Summit last month. 

The summit was a chance for the students to look within, to understand their faith and how it can impact their role as student leaders in their final year of primary school, while having fun and meeting peers from other schools. 

This years’ theme was Be the One, based on Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, had three objectives: 

  • Empower young leaders to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today 
  • Encourage young leaders to be advocates and agents of change as modelled by Jesus 
  • Form courageous young leaders to take charge and be a voice for others 

The day was packed with engaging presentations and activities, beginning with Caritas Australia Justice Educator Nathan Leber who bounded onto the stage with his customary energy and enthusiasm. 

Rather than speak ‘to’ the children, Mr Leber spoke ‘with’ them about the challenges they face as young Catholics and how they can integrate their faith into everyday life, sometimes without even knowing it. 

“While human contact is really important, it is great to know that we can also have a personal relationship with God, through prayer (talking to God) and reading of Scriptures,” he said. 

“Remember you are holy and worthy – God has set you aside for a special purpose and although sometimes your prayers are not answered immediately, or sometimes He has another plan for you – you just have to trust in that God knows what is best for you.” 

The energy continued with a fun workshop presented by Kim Smith and Standing Strong, a holistic health and wellness program for children.  

The workshop had the students moving, interacting and engaging as they learned about building a strong body, strong mind and strong heart. 

“Leadership is being the best you, so that you can help others grow with you,” Ms Smith said. 

Ms Smith taught the students how to do the ‘power pose’, which had them standing, arms in front like Superman and roaring like a lion — it was a clear favourite. 

Even the Chisholm student volunteers assisting on the day got into the Spirit and danced alongside their younger counterparts. 

The day finished with guest speaker Sean Pollard, a shark attack survivor and paralympian, who told his story of resilience, optimism and courage. 

Sean delivered an inspiring presentation that chronicled his journey from 2014, when he lost both arms to a shark attack while surfing in Esperance, to adapting to life with a split hook prosthetic and later challenging himself to learn to snowboard because he was unable to surf again.  

Mr Pollard took his captivated audience through his life changingexperiences and concluded with his remarkable feat of representing Australia in the sport of Para-snowboard at the 2018 Winter Paralympics. 

Master of Ceremonies and Holy Cross College Deputy Principal – Learning, Ryan Shelton, ended the summit with a prayer and had some take-away thoughts for the young leaders to ponder. 

The end of the day is not the end of today’s call to leadership,” he said. 

Today has been a day for each of you to think about your journey as a leader, a time to reflect on being the one who lives as Jesus taught in relationships, in showing care for others, being the one who shows courage, takes charge and is a voice for others. 

Close your eyes and think back over all you have heard today, what message will you take back to your school about ‘being the one’? And how will you share this message? 

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