YMCA worker off to Prague
Timaru man Shaun Ellis will represent New Zealand on the world stage when he heads to an international youth festival this year.
The 20-year-old has been selected as a YMCA "change agent" as part of the organisation's World Alliance Youth Empowerment Project.
As part of the role Mr Ellis, who is creative director, youth development project and youth sport and recreation facilitator at YMCA South and Mid Canterbury, will travel to Prague next month to attend the YMCA Europe Festival.
He will be joined by fellow New Zealand representative Lisa Phillips.
There, change makers from around the world will gather to learn and discuss ideas.
The pair will also attend the World Council of YMCAs meeting in Estes Park, Colorado from June 29 to July 5 next year. To secure the appointment, Mr Ellis put together a compelling video application, outlining his vision for youth development.
"It was one of those things I thought I'm going to give it my all."
He felt it would give him the opportunity to become a stronger leader.
"That really appealed to me ... the opportunity to meet and see people from YMCAs around the world and connect and network with these sorts of people.
"I saw it as a challenge. I'd have to step out of my comfort zone. That really interested me actually."
A friend helped him with filming and provided lighting equipment for the video application, but the writing and editing was all done by Mr Ellis. He preferred a video application over a written application as he could "get his passion across".
"I was able to do that with the video. I played to my strengths."
Next year he and Ms Phillips will share with the national YMCA youth leadership advisory committee, that he sits on, what they learnt and their new ideas and vision.
"Then we can split off and put that in place in YMCAs around the country."
He hoped experience would assist him in developing into a future leader.
Mr Ellis, who is Timaru "born and bred", took a role as sports facilitator 18 months ago at the YMCA after completing a diploma in digital photography at Aoraki Polytechnic. He had volunteered at the YMCA school holiday programme as a high school student.
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