On Thursday 2 May the Arundel and Brighton Young Leadership Schools from St Peter’s Catholic School Guildford, The Salesians School Chertsey, and Cardinal Newman Catholic School joined together with Catholic schools from the Portsmouth Diocese for the third Young Leaders Day. It was kindly hosted by Farnborough Hill School who provided everyone with great hospitality and a delicious lunch. Sarah Burrows led the inspirational day on ‘Campaigning, ‘Laudato Si Climate Change.’
The Young Leadership programme provides a year of training to develop leadership skills such as team building, project management, problem solving and communication. At CAFOD we recognise that young people can make a huge difference, which is why we want to equip young people to be leaders in their local and global communities. The programme offers sixth formers an opportunity to take the lead and make a difference, as well as a chance to meet new people, gain confidence, skills and experience.
The day started with a prayer reflection and a Laudato Si animation which reminded us that Pope Francis has given all of humanity with a huge challenge to think about how we are living and how our living affects others, and the earth our common home. The Young Leaders reflected upon the question ‘what kind of world do you want to leave those who come after us?
This was followed by some icebreaker activities which included a string game where groups were given tasks such as constructing ‘5’ using the string with eyes firmly shut. Another one was when Young Leaders were given statements such as ‘climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity today,’ (Sir David Attenborough) and they had to decide and justify if they strongly agreed, agreed, disagreed or strongly disagreed. This led into discussion about why we campaign, types of campaigns and the difference between charity and justice.
The schools then fed back on the fundraising activities they had led in their own schools since the last session. Many had led school wide and year group assemblies on CAFOD awareness, Lent Fast Day, and had raised money through cake sales and introducing Fair Trade tasters, followed by Fair Trade school sales. A session on statistics and stories followed with Young Leaders becoming aware that both were important for sharing issues about climate change.
A project management activity followed where the Young Leaders were asked to plan a project management activity in school with different time frames and a debriefing followed. The CAFOD Net Zero Campaign was introduced and Young Leaders then created a ‘0’ photo. They were encouraged to invite their MPs to visit their schools and to tell them they wanted the Government to commit to net zero by 2045.They were also invited to consider joining the CAFOD lobby of MPs on the 26 June. The day was rounded up with the key messages: that campaigning works and along with advocacy it is the most effective way to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice and, secondly; tackling climate change is essential and the that the Young Leaders can become part of the solution.
The day ended with a moving reflection of ‘Dear Matafele Peinem’ a poem written for a baby by a young poet and read out at the UN Climate Summit in 2014.
CAFOD Arundel and Brighton would like to thank Sarah Burrows, CAFOD,Young Leadership Coordinator, for leading an inspiring day and Farnborough Hill School for hosting the event.
For further information on the Young Leaders Programme – look here.