Empowering tomorrow’s leaders: The Instep Young Leaders’ Forum 2024 

In the heart of the Western Bay of Plenty, 35 young leaders embarked on a journey of growth and connection at the Hungahungatoroa Marae. This marked the beginning of the Instep Young Leaders’ Forum (IYLF) for 2024, an initiative aimed at fostering leadership skills among secondary school students in the region. 

The Noho began with Ngareta Timutimu’s insightful introduction to Māori culture, setting a tone of respect and inclusivity. Following this, a series of engaging activities led by returning students from the previous year’s cohort facilitated interaction and camaraderie among the participants. 

Icebreaker activities conducted by Erina and Amber broke down barriers and allowed the young leaders to get to know each other better. Jack’s workshop on communication emphasised the importance of responsiveness and staying connected through digital platforms. 

Erina led a workshop focused on community engagement, encouraging participants to brainstorm ideas for future activities and initiatives. Avah and Abby facilitated a session where students shared a visual pepeha-a way of introducing themselves. It tells others who you are by sharing your connections with the people and places that are important to you. This activity sparked discussions on shared interests and experiences. Common themes emerged related to animals, reading, sport and a healthy debate about skiing vs snowboarding. 

The connections forged throughout the day blossomed into friendships, as the group engaged in various recreational activities, such as touch, volleyball, cards, music, movies and study groups.  

The following day centered around leadership development, with sessions led by Steve Worsley and Ian Ashworth from Coachio Group. Through interactive activities and discussions and with the use of Lego blocks the students explored the following leadership topics: 

  • The influence of leaders (above/below the line) 
  • Six leadership styles (Visionary, Pacesetting, Coaching, Commanding, Demographic & Affiliative)  
  • EDSOC (Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytonin, Cortisol) 
  • Effective Communications (7 key active listening skills) 
  • Conflict (approaches) 

The Noho provided an opportunity for the young leaders to immerse themselves in relationship building, learning and reflection, this underscored the importance of nurturing leadership skills among youth. 

As the IYLF unfolds, there is a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement among the participants. With each interaction and opportunity, these young leaders are poised to make a positive impact in their communities and beyond. 

The IYLF is not just a program; it is an investment in the potential and promise of the young people in the Western Bay of Plenty. Through collaboration, mentorship, and shared experiences, the forum seeks to empower and invest in our future leaders.