Empowering the next generation in the mighty kingdom of Tonga - Sept 2023
The picturesque island nation of Tonga bore witness to our first time operating in the mighty Kingdom of Tonga. Embarking on a transformative journey, it was a truly regional experience, welcoming students aged 16 to 18 from New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga from 23-30 September 2023.
The program's roots extend back to 2013, when the seeds of leadership were first planted in the hearts of Pacific's youth. Over the course of one unforgettable week, participants were immersed in activities designed to cultivate leadership qualities, foster collaboration, and provide them with the tools to drive positive change in their communities.
What truly set this program apart was the collaboration with local businesses and organisations. These partnerships added a unique and enriching dimension to the program. Participants had the privilege of dancing with local kids and traditional dancers at the Fehoko Gallery. This heart-warming experience provided them with a deeper appreciation for Tonga's culture and a profound connection with the community.
Another highlight was the discovery of new skills in storytelling Tonga's legends. Participants learned to preserve and share the rich oral history of Tonga, passing down the knowledge to future generations. It was a lesson in the importance of cultural preservation and heritage.
The program also included a sports session with NRL Tonga. Here, participants engaged in Tonga's favourite sports with a twist - using tin cans as props. It was a fun and memorable experience that not only brought laughter but also taught teamwork and adaptability.
An inspiring guest speaker, Katrina, played a pivotal role in the 2023 program. She delved into the "4 A's of Leadership" by John Maxwell: Aligned, Accountable, Authentic, and Aware. Her wisdom and insights left an indelible mark on the young minds, equipping them with essential leadership qualities and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a leader in today's world.
Armed with newfound leadership skills, cultural insights, new friends and a profound sense of community engagement, these students have returned to their respective regions as change agents.
The Graduation for the 2023 Tonga program was a poignant moment, filled with gratitude and hope for the future. Special guests and performances added to the celebratory atmosphere, with participants showcasing their newfound leadership skills and talents.
The programme in Tonga showcased the power of youth empowerment and leadership development, woven together with the vibrant threads of Tonga's culture and heritage. As we reflect back on this remarkable week, we celebrate the achievements of its participants and look forward to the future where these young leaders will continue to make a positive difference in their communities and beyond. The Pacific's future is in capable hands.
How to Get Involved:
For those who wish to support or participate in our youth leadership initiatives in Tonga and across the Pacific, numerous opportunities exist. Check out our website for more information and upcoming trips. Together, we can continue to nurture the potential of our youth.