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Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Page: 12580

Mrs GASH (Gilmore) (09:37): Two weekends ago, we had our Gilmore Youth Leadership Forum, which is based on the original concept of a former colleague, Alan Cadman. Seven years ago, there was little in the way of leadership training for our young potential leaders. Since then, some 1,000 students have gone through our program. It would have be one of the most rewarding programs that we have done. The weekend saw some 100 students attending from local state and private schools. Many new and lasting friendships have been made, and many of last year's participants became mentors. The aim is to gain confidence through activities that take them out of their comfort zones and teach them how to work effectively as a team. This year was our final Gilmore Youth Leadership Forum, and it was a huge success. Seven years ago, there were no alternatives. But there are now alternatives within schools and service clubs for leadership courses. However, we are contemplating a new project based on the extensive artistic talent within our community.

This project did not just happen out of nothing, so I thank our past coordinators, with a special mention for Ann Sudmalis, who coordinated the last three of our forums. She has been a tower of strength in organising the projects, speakers and mentors, and she has shown great artistic flair in the painting of amenities block in community blitzes. I also give special thanks to the schools that have allowed the students to participate and to the teachers and mentors who gave up their own valuable weekends to take part. To our sponsors, who subsidised the cost of these forums: they would not have happened without you. I give special thanks to Glen Elliott, the manager of the parks and gardens of Shoalhaven City Council. He is simply the best. I thank Shoalhaven City Council and the Bomaderry Bowling Club for their constant support of the program. I thank Clive Brooks of Great Southern Motorcycles, a major sponsor who took on the task of assisting Ann and doing all the work behind the scenes. To the students: you are terrific and I know that you will go a long way in your chosen careers. To our special guest speakers: you are the ones who give our leaders the inspiration and qualities required for their future years.

This year saw our own John Bennett from Worrigee House speak on the idea that was born in his office and went on to become the top priority for CHOGM for the Royal Agricultural Show of New South Wales, of which John is a councillor and assistant ringmaster. I thank Paula Smith from Mercy Ships, which delivers health care to the world's poorest and most physically deformed, who are often considered demon-possessed. I also thank Wyatt Roy, our youngest politician. What an inspiration he was. His talk on leadership kept enthralled not only our students but also the school principals who were guests for the evening. Well done, Wyatt. Hopefully, we may get some more young leaders to think about politics. Last but not least, there was a man who changed my professional life some 17 years ago: the Corporate Ninja, Ron Lee. He certainly taught the students what they could do by the power of positive focus and believing in themselves. Ron teaches the seven pillars of effectiveness: certainty, presence, purpose, focus, vision, fun and inner strength. Ron donated his time, and I know he will always play a part in the minds of young students, especially those that smashed the boards. Thank you to all. From what started as a thought, it was a terrific journey.