Fi Sproule – EACH Youth Leadership Program

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Fi Sproule is the co-ordinator of the EACH Youth Leadership Program, giving people in Armidale opportunities to develop and practice leadership and social action skills, in order to become catalysts for change.What is your position at EACH?

I am the co-ordinator of the Youth Leadership Program and have been in this position since the beginning of May.

What is the history of EACH?

EACH is a dynamic, progressive, not-for-profit organisation that delivers a diverse range of integrated primary health care, disability, psycho-social and community support services to individuals, families and the community in NSW and Victoria. EACH has an annual budget in excess of $50 million, employs over 680 staff and manages 125 programs across 30 sites.

We are guided by the principles of the social model of health: holistic service provision; continuous quality improvement; consumer and community participation; and development of the diverse social assets of the community. In 2007, EACH was awarded the Victorian Premier’s Award for Outstanding Primary Health Care Service. NSW Programs include Youth Connections, Reconnect, Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, Midnight Basketball, Community Support Service, and coming soon is the Links to Learning Program.

Tell us about your new leadership program?

I am very excited to be co-ordinating this program. This program is looking for up to 20 young people in the Armidale area to train, coordinate and to participate in the planning, development, delivery and evaluation of innovative cultural and sporting programs that address local youth issues in Armidale.

This is a huge opportunity, not only for the young people involved in the program, but for the community and business sector, to see our young leaders striving to make a difference in their community. This kind of promotion of our young people is a positive step to engage them in employment and community work.

Some of the outcomes of this program are:

Providing young people in Armidale with opportunities to develop and practice leadership and social action skills, in order to become catalysts for change.

Providing a forum where young people in Armidale feel safe to learn about and discuss important issues.

Providing young people in Armidale with opportunities to develop awareness and understanding of community issues, problems, and resources.

Using positive peer influence to promote a healthy, supportive, and respectful community environment.

Developing social responsibility in Armidale youth, with opportunities to provide community service and model pro-social behaviour.

Increasing young people’s self-esteem, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving abilities through opportunities for real-life application in their community.

What activities will the young leaders participate in?

This is a hard question to answer at this stage, as the young people themselves will be developing this group with their own ideas, research and interests. What I can tell you is they will receive mentoring in all aspects of event management, grant writing, leadership and team work.

We also have a budget for leadership courses/activities that will help the group form better connections within their team and at the same time bring out their leadership qualities.

This program also wants to address the problem of limited youth activities in the surrounding areas of Guyra, Uralla, Walcha and Bundarra.

Are there any other youth services involved in this program?

This program is very fortunate to have the following Youth Service Providers/Community Services supplying support: James Reid – Juvenile Justice

Aimee Light – PCYC

Maureen Chapman – NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Sandra Hayden –TAFE – Armidale Campus

Sally Schofield – Armidale Dumaresq Council

Young people have been nominated by other youth services and will be supported by those services, as well as given the opportunity to promote the services in which they are engaged with.

Who has signed up for the program so far?

We have 5 amazing young people already signed up for the program: Laura Murray (13) representing Armidale High School/Armidale Youth Council; Robert Weller (21) representing TAFE; Kalab Lawson (21) representing UNE; Les Ahoy (12) representing Duval High School; and Steph Olsen (17) representing Backtrack.

We can have up to 20 young people on this group and if you like planning events, community work, team work, fun activities and generally making a difference in your own life and your community, then we really would love to hear from you.

How can interested young people become involved?

Give Fi Sproule a ring at EACH Armidale.

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