The Blind Foundation 2016 youth SEED leadership programme opens up a world of opportunity for aspiring leaders.

Success, empowerment, expertise and development (SEED) are at the very heart of this three-day youth leadership programme. 11 youth aged between 17 to 25, from across the country, came to Auckland to attend the programme from 3 to 5 October.

The programme involved a series of leadership workshops. Attendees explored   areas such as self-awareness, self-care, comfort zones, courageous conversations, leadership in Maori culture and team dynamics.

It wasn’t just theory though, participants put their learnings into practice out and about. They set personal challenges with team initiatives and took on a high ropes course.

There was even an opportunity to meet some key youth within the Blind Foundation. The group learnt about their journeys, as well as the Blind Foundation’s recently launched youth strategy.

On day three, there were no thoughts of heading home as there was a rafting challenge to complete. Again, an opportunity to put into practice and develop skills they had been learning.  The group got to use their skills in resilience, influencing change, solution focused problem-solving and team-work. Heading out to Okahu Bay, the group built a raft and put their handy work to the test on the ocean.

After getting back from the adventures on the water, they had one final task to tackle, planning for their futures, the group brainstormed ways to influence and lead in their communities. There were some robust conversations and they set real challenges for themselves, and the Blind Foundation, to further progress the youth strategy. The session was rounded off with time to reflect on the previous three days.

Heather McGill, Recreation and Community Practice Leader, helped facilitate the programme and says she is proud of everyone’s achievements.

“They did themselves and their peers proud by pushing personal limits and working together as a team.”

Now back from the programme, each participant will develop a community project to reach other youth in their local blind community. The participants will receive support from coaches on their projects.