I joined Canteen as a shy 14 year old in 2008 when Mum relapsed with cervical cancer. The young leaders on my first camp program welcomed me without judgement and today some of them are my closest friends. It wasn’t until Canteen, that I made friends who could relate to what was happening in my life. When Mum passed away in 2009, my Canteen friends were the rock that supported me.
Over the past seven years, Canteen has given me a platform to develop my leadership skills such as providing input into how the local WA leadership team can best serve the needs of the young people living with cancer it represents. At a local level, I have held the roles of Secretary, Vice President, and President that have allowed me to develop skills such as influencing people and goal setting. At a national level, I sat on the Member Advisory Council and now currently sit on the Board of Directors, which has allowed me to apply the technical skills from my Economics degree in addition to the leadership skills developed over the past seven years. The roles I’ve held have changed but my main focus has always been to make Canteen a better place for the young people it supports and the ones we are still yet to reach.
My ongoing highlight is supporting young people to become great leaders. The amazing thing is any young person can become a leader: a role or title isn’t required to lead people. What makes Canteen unique is its belief in young people in what they can achieve: this is exemplified in young people holding a majority on the Board of Directors. Name me one organization that empowers young people to undertake the highest level of responsibility in a multi-million dollar national charity?