Young Leader message
I look back at 2020 as a seminal year, where its challenges have tested all of us at times but have also given us the opportunity to innovate, grow and overcome barriers to support the community and its young people.
Without the normal methods of engaging and inspiring young people, the Y adapted to create Virtual Y. Virtual Y is an online community where young people are able to stay connected and have access to health and wellness resources from home. I want to personally thank the Y for advocating and overcoming the challenges of 2020 to still support its many communities, its employees and young people throughout this year’s difficulties.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved as a fitness instructor for Virtual Y, conducting online fitness classes for users. It was a very unique and exciting experience to still be able to reach and have an impact on our health and wellness members even during lockdown.
I am personally very passionate about creating equal access to exercise and health education opportunities for everyone within the community. This is to empower individuals to live a happier, healthier and more connected life through these services and programs that the Y provides.
This year we saw the One Casey’s Men’s Shed Fitness Program become runner up in the Fitness Australia Community Program of the year. This program saw 35 men aged between 60-88 years old collectively lose 28 kilograms and improve their blood pressure, their overall strength and cardio. The participants have become healthier not just from the fitness sessions but also from the educational sessions they received to live healthier lifestyles.
I deeply appreciate every experience and opportunity that the Y has presented me from starting as a member four years ago at YMCA Casey ARC, to now leading the Health and Wellness Program at Casey RACE. It’s been an amazing journey with so many incredible experiences along the way which have improved my leadership skills and positively shaped the values I live by. I have been fortunate enough to experience first-hand how the Y proudly believes in the power of inspired young people.
The full extent of the lockdowns on our communities this year is unclear with all dimensions of the health and wellbeing industry being affected. What I do know is that the Y will be there, as committed as always, to continue empowering, supporting and inspiring young people throughout the times ahead.
Now, we need to continue to come together as an organisation, to make progressive change and inspire young people into the next generation - like how the Y has inspired me and so many more of its staff to challenge ourselves to achieve more, empower us to make a positive impact on our communities and become the future leaders of tomorrow.
More from our leaders
The past year has been one of the most challenging years in the Y Victoria’s 176-year history. We entered 2020 as a nation devastated by the bushfires raging across Australia. Then, as we began to recover from a tragic summer, the global coronavirus pandemic turned everything we had planned, both at work and in our personal lives, upside down.
My first full year as CEO of YMCA Victoria and Kingswim has been unlike anything I ever could have imagined. The leadership team and I had to make some of toughest decisions of our careers and I am truly grateful for the support of our whole Y community: staff, volunteers, our Board, our local council partners, our customers, members and participants – everybody who has the Y in their lives and had to make a sacrifice this year for the greater good.
Unprecedented. It’s probably the most overused word in 2020, but accurately describes the devastating events we as Victorians, as a nation and as a globe have experienced this year. Before I reflect on the year that was, I want to thank our staff and volunteers. Your hard work and dedication is always inspiring, but this year you have shown incredible resilience and made sacrifices that have helped the Y get through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hard to put into words how grateful and appreciative I am of you.