Lions Youth Of The Year

I was honoured to be invited to judge the local Lions Youth Of The Year contest held at Yeronga Dutton Park RSL yesterday.

The five contestants from Yeronga State High and McGregor State High were all incredibly impressive.

I’ve always vowed to never become one of those old people who laments the state of the youth ‘today’ because I’ve always identified that attitude to be some crazy generational bias that holds no place in reality.

And I am right.

Lions Youth Of The Year

The extraordinary young people were required to participate in a panel interview with the three judges then answer four general knowledge questions. Talk about confronting!

The question I was asking each of them was where the Commonwealth Games was going to be held (and what benefits the games brings). Apparently it’s being held on the Gold Coast. Prior to us formulating the questions, I had no idea either. Tough gig!

In the evening they all presented in front of an audience of Lions members, teachers and parents. They answered two long form impromptu questions then each gave a 5 minute prepared speech. The speeches were amazing!

The winner Mariz was a school captain and it was really clear why. She had a very passionate, but easy-going, natural, affable demeanour – you can’t contrive that. If I had to use one word to describe her it was ‘wholehearted’.

The winner of the Public Speaking prize for the evening was Kimberly who gave a speech about jokes and how ‘unfunny’ it is when comedians and others tell jokes that are racist, sexist and generally bigoted. It was a perfect presentation from beginning to end.

After hearing so much in the media from adults with loud voices who are cruel, cynical and harsh, it was wonderful to hear from the oft unheard young voices – full of compassion, hope and care.

It gives me hope. Thanks everyone for the opportunity to hear that hope, up close. It meant a lot.

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