Volunteering, farmers’ mental health and the shortage of people in emergency services were topics covered by the participants in the Keith Lions Youth of the Year Club Final on Wednesday.
The evening of public speaking followed an intense day of judging where a panel of three judges – Fiona Wilkinson, Anna Young and Sam Densley – asked questions pertaining to the participants’ general knowledge, community participation, academic and sporting achievement.
The quest aims to encourage student interest in leadership and the ultimate winner of the quest will go on to represent Australia as an international ambassador for Lions.
Joe Watts was announced as this year’s overall winner.
Joe’s speech focused on the value to local communities of volunteerism. He will now go on to represent the Keith Lions Club at a regional final on March 11.
This year the Public Speaking award was won jointly by Will Creighton and Mitch Malthouse.
Will pointed out that current research suggests that agricultural workers are not only in one of the highest risk industries, they are also at most risk of mental illness.
In his speech, he asked that we all consider how our neighbours are and ask the question, “Are you OK?”
Mitch’s speech highlighted the difficulty people have when trying to volunteer for the emergency services as training requirements mean that people who are willing to help may find it hard to get time off work.
He suggested that perhaps the government should look at compensating employers for time lost to volunteering.
Chair of the judging panel Mr Densley praised the participants saying they were confident, well researched and a credit to their parents.
Lions president Mick Aitken said the night was a huge success and thanked the Keith Area School’s Tanya Allen for working so hard with the students and the club to make the event happen.
The dinner was attended by 50 Lions members, parents and school staff.