Halfway through the year and I find myself reflecting on my role as Youth Leadership Program (YLP) Coordinator.

I have such faith in this program to fulfill its promise to the leaders of tomorrow. A promise to increase their confidence and provide tools that gives them the ability to write humorous, inspiring, and informative speeches and to present with confidence.

However it’s the small miracles that are a bonus and encourage me to promote program.

This is Ben’s story, just one of many……

In the first session of YLP at Boronia Heights Ben, with a hoody pulled up over a mass of curls, was not engaged, he had his head on the desk for 80% of session and did not participate. (His teacher later told us that he often “sleeps” through his classes)

In session two Ben remained unengaged, even after my many requests he refused to respond. We came to the point where Ben had his back to the group looking out the window – was I that scary? I decided to “interview” him in this position, asking some simple but engaging questions and we learned that his best adrenaline rush was on a slip line at School camp, my response “That

sounds so scary to me” Ben’s reply was “not as scary as Youth Leadership classes…….”

Laughter erupted. Ben turned in his seat smiling, loving the limelight. A small important win had been made.

To capitalise on the win we thought opening the next meeting with a script and banging the gavel would appeal to Ben….and it did.

A Timekeeper role followed, and Ben become more engaged in the Round Robin segments.

For the last session Ben, and let me stress, ‘asked’ to be given the role of Table Topics Master – he aced it.

Two awards, determined by the teachers, were presented at the last session. Ben was named the most improved. His peers and the Toastmasters involved could not be more thrilled.

Transforming from a young lad uninterested, unengaged and fearful of speaking in public to one that seemed to walk taller, smile, and engage with us more confidently, was our miracle.


Nola Sharp DTM
Youth Leadership Coordinator 2022-23