As one of 52 students chosen from hundreds, Year 13 student Erina Taylor explains why the Youth EnviroLeaders Forum is an experience she will carry for life.
The last log book entry of Sir Peter Blake said that “the hardest part of any big project is to begin.” The aim of the Sir Peter Blake Trust Youth EnviroLeaders Forum in 2015 was to help 52 young New Zealanders, aged 15-18, to begin on their journey of leadership and becoming advocates of caring for New Zealand’s beautiful natural environment. These 52 students were selected from hundreds of applicants, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been chosen.
I spent one week from April 11th-17th surrounded by like-minded young people determined to make a difference. We helped each other through all of the challenges we faced throughout the week, from our surprise leadership course on the Whangaparoa naval base, to zip lining through the treetops 40 metres above the ground, and delivering presentations based around our ideas on leadership, eco-tourism and the environment to influential members of New Zealand society, including the Minister for the Environment and the Mayor of Rotorua.
This forum was an incredible opportunity, and gave me invaluable experience and knowledge. Over the week, it was amazing to see everyone growing, becoming more confident and forming their own opinions and ideas, as I could feel myself doing the same. Through our navy training, we learnt the characteristics of a good leader, and how best to lead teams. Over our week in Rotorua, we met a number of incredible people who shared all of their knowledge on fresh water management, eco-tourism and leadership, which were the three focuses for the week.
The Youth EnviroLeaders Forum was an experience I’ll never forget, and the skills I learnt are something that I will carry forward in my life.