Future Leaders Initiative
October saw the first stage of the Future Leaders Initiative take off with a residential in, the now world famous, Portrush.
17 young people from right throughout the Orange Family, from as far away as Dublin, travelled to the Atlantic Hotel, to explore their own needs as leaders, the needs of their communities, and how we could enable them to address those very issues.
“The Future Leaders Initiative is an innovative new programme which aims to give young people the skills and confidence to be real agents of change within their communities and within Orangeism as a whole.” said Gary McAllister, the GOLI youth development officer.
“I’m delighted that the Drew Nelson Legacy Project has supported this programme and provided the opportunity for so many talented and passionate young people to come together on this programme and given them a vehicle to express themselves and explore the challenges facing our community, but also to develop strategies and programmes which will help address those challenges.”
“Building not only confident young leaders, but a strong network of capable young people throughout our institution, will be key to our continued growth and success for years to come and this programme gives us every possible opportunity to continue to develop young leaders and build that network.”
The 2019/20 Future Leaders Initiative participants.
Speaking to a number of the participants, it was clear that they also believe that the Future Leaders Initiative has the potential to make a real impact in the orange community.
Ellis Hanna, a Social Policy with Criminology student hoping to go on to Union College to study for Presbyterian church ministry said;
“The Future Leaders Initiative has been great to bring young people from all across Ireland together so that we can grow and develop off of one another and so that we can go back in to our communities and ensure that Orangeism not only survives but that it thrives and that we are proactive in our communities.”
“I’d just like to say thank you to the Drew Nelson Legacy Project for their support of young people throughout Orangeism.”
Molly Liggett, a history and politics student at Queen’s, with a passion for getting more young women interested in Orangeism offered some thoughts of her own.
“As a young women interested in my orange culture and heritage and my unionist identity, I believe the Future Leaders Initiative is an excellent way to meet like minded people and to develop my leadership skills, which will then help me address problems which are arising in my community.”
“Having a strong team of young people come together in one place to debate and challenge one another, will help our community grow.”
Mid and East Antrim Cllr. Cheryl Johnston, who also joined the programme said;
“I applied for the Future Leaders Initiative to develop my leadership skills, meet like-minded people and work together to help improve our communities.”
“The Orange Family is something I’m extremely passionate about and I want to do my bit to champion our cause, and the Future Leaders Initiative is the perfect vehicle to do so.”
Ellis, Molly and Cheryl at the recent FLI Residential in Portrush.
Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning, (Chair of the Drew Nelson Legacy Project) said: “Anyone who knew Drew will agree that this is exactly the type of activity he loved to see. He would certainly have been delighted to see young people from a variety of backgrounds across the jurisdiction getting to know each other and focusing on how they can play a role in the future of the Orange family. I am very much encouraged that this group of young people have chosen to engage with the project and look forward to meeting them and many more young leaders in the months and years ahead.”