An inspirational week
I am so glad that I applied for YELF 2016. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I was so thrilled to find out that I had been selected as one of the 57 delegates and was looking forward to going to Nelson for the first time. Before we even arrived at the Forum, it felt like I already knew the other delegates as we had introduced each other on the Facebook YELF 2016 page. What was even more exciting was the fact that I would be spending the next seven days with people whom I had never talked to before. I was very eager to meet like-minded people who also had an interest in environment and leadership.
April 16th finally arrived and I was incredibly excited and nervous to meet everyone. The first two days were just about having fun and getting to know each other. We did activities like setting rat traps at Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, sailing, a MasterChef Challenge with Tim Read, orienteering and a goose chase. These activities helped us come out of our comfort zone and just talk to new people. I felt so inspired by everyone when hearing about what they had achieved in their community and at school.
The themes for YELF 2016 were Biodiversity, Ocean health and Pest eradication. The next three days were allocated to learning about these three topics. By the end of these three days, I had gained so much knowledge about these topics. Before coming to YELF, I knew the basics of these topics and at the end of these three days; my knowledge had expanded so much. It made me realize that there is still a lot of work to get done if we want to keep the biodiversity in New Zealand alive before it’s too late.
Thursday was the day we presented what we had learnt to the Minister for the Environment and to the Mayor of Nelson. I chose to talk about question 1 which was about pest eradication in New Zealand. I was feeling nervous as I had never talked in front of important figures like these. However, everything went smoothly for all the delegates.
Friday 22nd April, was our last day. Because we had spent 7 days together, everyone was very emotional and sad about leaving but happy for the great moments shared together. We gained so much knowledge and had so many ideas in which we felt confident to lead and apply it to our environment back at home. YELF 2016 has truly been an experience that I have been lucky to be blessed with. I would greatly recommend this to all year 11-13 students who are interested in the environment and leadership.