Early September saw the Young Marists team travelling to Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland over four days for a series of events in the four largest university centres. For want of a better title we called these “The Marist Youth Leader Reunions” but their intention was more about what is to come rather than what has been.
Each of the people who attended was a past participant of the programme. Now young professionals and university students, they sought to serve their school communities through ‘leading’ in their final year of school. They spent a week with 120 other students developing their understanding of leadership, with their minds set on applying those principles to their role as a prefect or house captain.
However, it doesn't take long from the time that you leave its gates for the very last time, to realise that leadership is a lot bigger than school. So what happens to these young ‘leaders’ when they leave their first leadership role and head out into a much bigger world? Leadership is about the service of others and the majority of opportunities to lead obviously exist in the world beyond school.
In each centre we were met with a keen group people - diverse in age as well as direction. We caught up with people in their first year out of school right the way through to familiar faces from programmes ten years ago. Doctors and lawyers, naval officers and teachers - all excited to connect again through this Marist community.
We shared the exciting trajectory the organisation is on and invited them to be a part of its future. We challenged them to consider what a university group might look like and see themselves as a part of creating it. We also had the opportunity to share two exciting new alumni initiatives - the Young Neighbours Trust and Next Door community (Keep an eye out for details via the blog in the next few days!). There was a palpable buzz in the groups by the end of each night, perhaps with the growing realisation that like their leadership, this connection didn't end with school.