The YCL leadership team
15 February 2012
They should have been on holiday, celebrating the end of exams. Instead, on December 10, 59 young people from around the archdiocese gathered in Paraparaumu to celebrate and explore the time, treasure and talents they have to offer as Young Catholic Leaders.
The archdiocese has run YoungCatholicLeader (YCL) annually since 2004. The five-day, live-in programme is for students heading into Year 13. December’s programme brought together young leaders from the nine Catholic colleges in the archdiocese, Kapiti and Horowhenua pastoral areas, Blenheim parish and, for the first time, the Māori Pastoral Care team.
Grounded in stewardship and giftedness, YCL challenges young people to step out of their comfort zone and, as Eleanor Roosevelt put it, ‘do the thing which you think you cannot’.
Challenge looks different to us all, whether it’s overcoming a fear of public speaking or of heights, stepping up and believing in your ideas enough to voice them, stepping back and encouraging someone else to take the lead, being fully present and ready to start on time or something completely different.
The point is that God already sees us for the amazing gifts we are but, as one YCLer put it, ‘You need to believe that you’re the best person you can be to actually be the best’.
The days were long and full of high expectation but this allowed more time and opportunity to cement friendships. Let’s be honest, the programme is top-notch but these relationships are the best resource participants could take from YCL.
Relationship is at the heart of leadership and even more important when it’s servant leadership you are living out. It’s not about being able to do it all yourself but about fully offering the gifts you have to the team and community to which you belong.
As a team, we thank these leaders for stepping up to the challenges we gave you, that you gave each other and yourselves.
These Year 13s are an inspiration to us all as we embrace stewardship in our communities. Regardless of whether these 16 and 17-year-olds were afraid, they looked within to the giftedness they each had and, in the words of a participant, ‘Entered an ordinary person, left a confident, passionate, strong leader who can do anything’.