THIS YEAR is continuing at breakneck pace, with only a few months until Christmas. It’s at this point in the year that everyone starts to realise that they need to start making plans for the coming year, so to have everything in place come January.
For some, this planning stage becomes even more important as they embark on study, training or employment and strive to figure out the intricacies of their chosen tasks. Throughout all of this it’s important to remember where you are going, and why. Direction is crucial, and I have been fortunate enough to help some people recently think more about their chosen paths.

Last week I journeyed to my home city of Whangarei, where I spoke to 250 young people at both a primary school and an intermediate school about my Queen’s Young Leader Award and some advice around how to go about life to make the changes you want to see. From this many are reevaluating what their place is in the world, reinforcing the old adage "Direction is so much more important than speed". Many are going nowhere fast.

Commonwealth Youth New Zealand has some amazing members around the country, all striving to empower young people to become future leaders, and it was great to see some of that work being recognised recently! Alex Bengree was awarded the Civic Honours Award for Youth Services at the Hutt City Council Civic Awards last week in recognition of her 10 year of service in Hutt City’s Youth Council – Youth Infusion. Her citation reads: She has led her peers to advocate and contribute to actions and developments that ensure the “youth voice” is heard and recognised throughout Council and the communities it serves. She is a strong member of the community law centre ensuring young people know their rights. Alex participates in the Hutt City Youth Workers Network, providing a youth perspective. She is well respected by Councillors and Council leadership and brings a level of wisdom, spirit and analysis to many youth issues. She engages effectively at all levels of leadership with maturity, respect and honesty. Congratulations Alex, and thank you for the work you’ve done to improve your local community. This work is inspirational and speaks to the dedication and excellence Commonwealth Youth New Zealand members can aspire to through hard work and perseverance!

Lastly, you would have hopefully have picked up from our various social media channels that in August we successfully ran the 35th Student CHOGM event here in Wellington, with around 50 young people attending from around the country. All participants were enthused to be part of some cracking debate and left with greater confidence and skills on how to communicate ideas effectively and lobby for their success.

We’re also currently in the process of shortlisting applicants for the 33Sixty Singapore programme later this year - good luck to those that have applied! Commonwealth Youth New Zealand runs some amazing events so keep your eyes peeled for invitations and applications to see of these events of the next few months and into the New Year.

Deputy Executive Director 
Commonwealth Youth New Zealand
A HUGE congratulations to one of CYNZ's founding members, Alex Bengree for receiving a Hutt City Civic Honour award for Youth Services! Alex is a  dedicated volunteer, helping most recently with our National Student CHOGM. 
A NEW mentorship programme which connects youth with at-risk youth has received $10,000 in funding from the Government. The Gisborne initiative, called Tuakana Teina, pairs 20 vulnerable children, aged 12 to 16 and with a parent in prison, with a mentor of the same age and a similar background.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Fatumata Bah and Loren Shudder-Hill, two CYNZ members who were recently announced as finalists in the Young Leader category of the 2016 Women of Influence awards! Winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on 12 October.

THE NEWLY appointed Commonwealth Secretary-General, Right Honourable Patricia Scotland, QC, looks back on her first hundred days in office where she shares observations from her travels and her hopes for the future of the Commonwealth. 
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