On the 27th June over 70 young people from across Wales gathered at Archbishop McGrath High School for the first all-Wales sixth form leadership conference organised by the CAFOD South Wales team. Following the conference we have heard the thoughts of some of the students who attended and we want to say a huge THANK YOU! The day could not have been such a success without the support and enthusiasm of the young people who came along as well as the teachers and school staff who accompanied them.
Eleanor Margetts, 21 year old former Archbishop McGrath student who opened the conference by showing a video and talking about her experience on the Step into the Gap programme said: “My trip to Sierra Leone and my experiences this year have given me the confidence to take my story, and the story of the people that CAFOD help, to different communities in the UK. This conference was a great way to help other young people in Wales explore issues of global poverty and hopefully inspire them to take action within their own communities.”
Thomas Lethardy, 17, who attends Archbishop McGrath High School said: “Deep down there is a leader in everybody, we just have to be taught how to bring it out. We are all influential in our own way, we have courage and passion, we can influence older and younger generations to fight poverty together.”
The young people who attended the conference enjoyed workshops on communication, presentation and how young people can use their voices to influence others. It was a chance for young people to explore how they can make a difference and give them confidence in their abilities to lead and inspire other people.
Mary-Ellen Courtney, 17, from Bishop Vaughan Catholic School in Swansea said: “It was interesting to see the different ways people present their ideas, I learned that everyone has the power to influence others. The workshops and videos shown at the conference helped me to really see what CAFOD’s work involves and it brought to life the issues underlying it, I found it so inspiring and I feel that I can make a difference.”
Olivia Harvey, 17, who attends St Albans RC High School in Pontypool said: “My friends and I were not really sure what to expect when we decided to go but we are so glad we did! I loved meeting so many new people whom I’ve kept in contact with as well as learning a lot from them. I also felt I learnt a lot from the engaging workshops which I thoroughly enjoyed. I learnt how to inspire others, how to make a good presentation as well as developing important leadership skills.”
“After today I would be confident talking in front of my peers and influencing others to take forward the message that we need to work together to end global injustice.”
Jordan Parker, one of the Head Boys at St Albans RC High School in Pontypool said: “Thank you for the eye opening #GGC14 conference last week! I really enjoyed my day and it helped me gain a better understanding of CAFOD and it’s relations with it’s partners! The main thing I took away from the day was that a person’s attitude is more important than their financial contribution. We have been inspired to begin introducing CAFOD to pupils in younger school years and feeder schools so they have a better understanding than we did at that age.”
Kieran O’Brien, Diocesan Manager for CAFOD South Wales, who organised the event said: “It’s the first time we have run a leadership conference of this kind here in Wales, and we are absolutely delighted with the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of all the young people who attended. This is their chance to unlock their leadership potential and to do great things to help tackle big issues like global poverty and climate change with their school communities.”
We would love to hear more about how you all found the conference, please let us know by email or on social media!
Have a look at our resources from the day as well and unlock your leadership potential.