Posted by Richard Blakeman
The club meeting on February 28th focused on Youth Service, and on two very impressive young people in particular. Guest speakers Sebastien Kreuger, of Swinburne Senior Secondary College, and Samuel Philp of Deakin University, both attended Rotary sponsored youth programs aimed at providing significant personal development opportunities, and each spoke with enthusiasm of their respective experiences, Sebastien at NYSF, and Samuel at RYLA. Both Sebastien and Samuel were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Glenferrie. Their impressive presentations underscored the considerable value of the club's support for programs such as these.
From left, PP Dr Mark Ellis AM, Michael Hills, Samuel Philp, Chris Raw, Sebastien Kreuger and PP Don Heath. Samuel and Sebastien enthralled the club meeting February 28th with descriptions of their experiences at RYLA and NYSF respectively.
Past President Don Heath introduced our first guest speaker, Sebastien Kreuger, who is currently studying English, Biology, Maths Methods and Music at Swinburne Senior Secondary College for his VCE. Sebastien plans to follow this with a university science degree. The Rotary Club of Glenferrie sponsored him to attend the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF), in January this year. This two-week program is designed to give students, commencing Year 12, a better understanding of the diverse career opportunities available in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
Sebastien eloquently explained how his passion for science has been stimulated by his attendance at NYSF, where he greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet like-minded people. The first week of the two-week course was held via Zoom, with the second week attended in-person. The speakers were all impressive, but he particularly enjoyed Dr Karl and Adam Spencer. The venues for the various in-person sessions were outstanding, including the University of Melbourne and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre, where the students were able to inspect a Mars Rover, and simulate the Mission Control experience.
Sebastien feels that the NYSF experience has greatly assisted him by exposing the broad career opportunities available in mathematics, science, engineering and technology. It has helped clarify his own career aspirations, given him greater insight into what to expect at university, and further inspired him in his determination to get there. On top of all that, it was lots of fun too!
Our second guest speaker, Samuel Philp, was introduced to the meeting by Youth Service Committee member Michael Hills. Samuel impressed as a remarkably self-assured and articulate young man, giving an impressive talk about his experience at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards live-in camp, held from November 27th to December 3rd, 2023 at Rotary Camp Getaway at Axedale. Though he found it a little daunting to be boarding the bus for a week away without knowing anyone aboard, he soon found that his twenty-two fellow RYLAs would become good friends, so much so that many of them attended Samuel's recent 21st Birthday Party!
Sam is a fourth-year Bachelor of Arts student at Deakin University who, in 2023, will be undertaking his research thesis in the field of philosophy. He supplements his university studies with helping to write research and development grant applications and tutoring primary and secondary students in English and Creative Writing. He's also a keen basketball and mixed netball player and has a deep personal interest in literature and philosophy.
RYLA is a global Rotary program that provides an intensive leadership experience, aimed at 18- to 25-year-olds. It encourages emerging and experienced leaders to reflect on their own skills and personal strengths to effectively contribute to their communities in a practical manner. It provides opportunities to share leadership experiences within a diverse group to understand the unique qualities, abilities and skills of others and how this diversity can empower and encourage participants to facilitate teamwork and greater understanding. It is about how to be an effective leader.
Sam explained how his experience at RYLA has been life-changing for him. He particularly found the leadership and personal development sessions helpful, helping him to better understand the qualities and attributes that make for a great leader. They helped provide insights too, for Sam, about how he could further develop his own qualities and attributes in his aspirations for leadership. Lesson No. 1, said Sam: "Leaders are ordinary people that do extraordinary things". The hardest part of the whole week was having to surrender the mobile phone - no internet browsing allowed. Everyone soon got used to it though. In closing his presentation, Sam thanked members of the Rotary Club of Glenferrie for helping to provide him with the opportunity to attend RYLA 2022.
In closing the meeting, PP Mark Ellis invited both Sebastien and Samuel to become Rotarians in the future, and to put that on their list of things to do. The experiences of both of these outstanding young men are testament to the value delivered by Rotary support for youth programs.
Congratulations Sebastien and Samuel on your excellent presentations. We have no doubt that the future is bright for you both and wish you well in your chosen careers.