To mark the start of National Youth Week, YMCA NSW handed the leadership reigns over to 18-year-old Sam Harris on Friday 13 April, appointing him CEO for the Day.
As part of his duties, Sam hosted a Youth Empowerment and Leadership forum of young YMCA staff; joined fellow young people in the head office to brainstorm ways to create more youth friendly workplaces, and oversaw the launch meeting of the YMCA NSW Affinity Network, a support network to advocate for young LGBTIQ staff.
The CEO for a Day initiative reflects the YMCA’s belief in the power of inspired young people and commitment to giving young people a platform to speak about what matters to them.
The former Hastings Secondary College, who is now studying Law and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, is the current YMCA NSW Youth Parliament Youth Governor Elect and was valued participant of the 2017 YMCA NSW Youth Parliament.
He is passionate about education, LGBTQIA+ issues, and the mental and physical health of young Australians.
Sam said: “It was a fantastic experience to be CEO of YMCA NSW for the day, and to provide a voice to young people with the hope to shape the Y and other organisations to be more inclusive of young people.
“Organisations across the board can and should be more inclusive of young people – we are the leaders, policy and decision makers of the future and our voices should be included in discussions now at all levels of society. I’d say to organisations and governments – go out to schools, places and events where young people will be, and find out what matters to them.
As for what organisations can learn from young people, Sam said: “That life is still fun! Young people are living in the moment, not because we’re scared of the future but because generally speaking it’s the way we do things. This is a fantastic way to be and can provide new insights for organisations, including about how they can better engage youth.”
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