Teen chosen out of hundreds for leadership programme

A Gore teen is one of 10 young people selected to attend the Blue Star leadership programme in Sydney which starts on Friday.

Albert Dennison (17) was nominated by Senior Constable Stephen Heyrick, and his application was accepted out of hundreds put forward from Blue Light’s 72 branches across New Zealand.

Mr Dennison, who is an apprentice electrician, has been volunteering with Gore Blue Light for about three and a-half years.

‘‘It will be my first time overseas so it’s quite exciting,’’ he said.

He became involved with the organisation after his elder brother Tom began volunteering.

‘‘I’ve been helping out as a youth leader for Blue Light camps which is very rewarding. It’s lots of fun meeting the kids and seeing kids get out of their comfort zone and it’s always a fun weekend.’’

The Blue Star leadership programme is run by the Police Citizens Youth Clubs New South Wales (PCYC) in Sydney.

Attending the programme alongside the group from New Zealand will be first nation representatives and young people from out of PCYC’s 16,000 members and 64 clubs across NSW.

Blue Light chief executive Rod Bell said the club was one of Australia’s pre-eminent youth organisations.

‘‘This is an amazing opportunity for our young people from around the country, many of which have never been out of New Zealand, to experience leadership training from one of Australia’s leading youth charities,’’ he said.

‘‘The Blue Star leadership programme has been designed to assist ‘creating young leaders for tomorrow’ within local communities.’’

The programme is aimed at young people aged 16-18, and gives them the tools and helps them develop the attitudes and aptitudes they need to actively engage with their community as youth leaders.

‘‘We hope Albert will continue to use the skills learnt and the connections made to affect positive change in communities,’’ Mr Bell said.

Mr Dennison said he would continue after the trip to be involved with Gore Blue Light, while also working to complete his apprenticeship.