Last week I participated in the South West Young Achiever Program; a training program designed for people in the South West between the ages of 18 – 25. The program has been operating for several years, and has consistently influenced participants of all ages in a very positive way. My blog this week, instead of looking at the negatives out there in this world, will be looking at the positives that this program brought back to my attention.

One session within the program especially impacted me and all of the other participants; learning how to ‘break through’ the barriers in your life, symbolically by breaking a piece of wood in half, with nothing but determination and your bare hands. Whilst my first two efforts were not successful, I persevered and eventually succeeded, with my two pieces of wood now taking pride of place in my room, and also in my heart.

I met some amazing people; a young female farmer, so passionate about her career and her life as a farmer, that she was literally a personification of sheer determination; another young female who was searching for a career path after her dreams of becoming a veterinary nurse were crushed after fainting in her first operation; another young female who cried at the prospect of coming to the program, yet she came anyway; and a young guy that drove bog-laps around town in his big loud car and referred to himself as a ‘bogan’, yet collected exotic fish and made jewellery in his spare time.

The most important thing I learnt from the program was not only about myself and my goals, but about those other young people in the same situation as me; we are all simply blank canvases, slowly adding colour, meaning and depth as we progress through life.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the other participants; who grew as I did throughout the program, who cheered and clapped as I broke the board in half, who laughed at me when I tried to organise everything, and who succeeded in our final presentation, beyond all expectations. Finally, I would like to thank all of them for being my friends, for supporting me, and making it all worthwhile.