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Welcome to the "Youth in Action" showcase event: address on the occasion.



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ADDRESS BY

HIS EXCELLENCY MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY AC CVO MC

GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

ON THE OCCASION OF

WELCOME TO THE "YOUTH IN ACTION" SHOWCASE EVENT

CANBERRA, ACT

4 SEPTEMBER 2005

Mr Neville Tomkins, Chief Commissioner, Scouts Australia ACT Branch Ladies and gentlemen Boys and girls Good morning everyone. Marlena and I are truly delighted to welcome you all to Government House for this magnificent "Youth in Action" showcase event - an event which strikes absolutely the right chord in the sense of looking to the future. I strongly believe that the ultimate challenge for our nation is also a tremendous opportunity; the opportunity to invest time and effort into the generations coming forward, providing the very best we can for our nation's youth. I have long believed that if every young Australian, especially in the age group 12 to 17, could be encouraged to belong to a well-led youth group, sporting or cultural organisation, there would be far fewer social problems within our society. Why do I think well-led youth groups are essential? Non-school hours outnumber those of the school day. The reason out-of-school time is so critically important is because it is discretionary. We know that it is in these hours that young people (ideally with caring adult supervision) form habits that are critical in: • learning how to allocate their free time; • learning how to conduct themselves socially; • appreciating the distinction between beneficial and not so beneficial activities; • learning about things not always found in books; and • forming ideas about what constitutes a satisfying, worthwhile life.

It is generally in the out-of-school hours that young people develop personal interests, choose their social activities, and take some of their biggest steps in maturing and defining their ambitions. Did you know that the age group 0 to 14 years represents roughly twenty per cent of Australia's entire population of almost 20.4 million people? That's more than 4 million young Australians who deserve the very best we can offer - the best education and training - if they are to excel and if our society is to remain cohesive and stable. I particularly admire the effectiveness of mentoring young Australians. Who would not want to show young people they are valued, that they belong, that they have a future? Who would not prize programs that elevate physical and mental skills, eliminate low self-esteem, reduce social isolation and open doors to choice, independence, to the maturing of interpersonal skills, to a better life?

The youth organisations who have planned, organised, and are now taking in today's Showcase remind me that there are three kinds of people in the world: • Those who make things happen; • Those who watch things happen; and • Those who don't know what happened.

You all belong to the former. We are blessed many times over by all of you who have worked together to make things happen; who have transformed the seeds of a simple idea into a first-class reality. Thus I thank you all, the leaders and representatives of Scouts and Guides, the football clubs, army and navy cadets, recreational and cultural groups, and many youth related community organisations, for helping make today's showcase such a magnificent event. There could be no finer goal than to help young people develop a healthy sense of self-worth in a world that can, from time to time, seem complex and indifferent. Marlena and I look forward to getting around to each of the thirty-six groups here. Congratulations on putting so much thought and effort into your displays. We hope you all have a very happy and enjoyable day with us at Government House. Thank you.