When you create the space for young people to step up and push their own limits, amazing things can happen. From humble volunteer to national conference presenter, Jenna Kelly has taken a big step forward! And we are so blessed to have her on the team. Truth bomb time Jenna – no Landcare volunteer is ever a nobody 😉
Words by Jenna Kelly, Wollongong NSW
Well firstly, wow – what an experience and not what I could have even begun to imagine. As a volunteer with Illawarra Intrepid Landcare for almost 4 years I would never have guessed that I would have gotten to experience the things that I have.
When Megan asked if I would head to Melbourne and present with her I thought “you are absolutely insane”… but the word ‘no’ isn’t really in my vocab so off I went all whilst thinking why would people want to speak and listen to a volunteer from Wollongong?!
Truth bomb time – I thought the conference was going to be a bunch of individuals speaking about things I wouldn’t really understand and that I would be an invisible nobody amongst the crowd. Well weren’t my judgmental predictions wrong!
The room filled to hear me (left) and Megan speak about Intrepid Landcare on the final day! Yes I do the selfie thing.
I could talk for hours on the experiences and things that I learnt at the conference – about all the different and fascinating programs popping up all over our beautiful country. But the most inspiring life lesson was simply that I got to be in the presence of the most spectacular people, with the same goal of making this land a better, more healthy place for the generations to come.
Taking in the scenery at Hanging Rock on our amazing conference field trip
There were inspiring stories that were so heart felt that they brought tears to the eyes, there was passion that filled a room with motivation, there were examples of some awesome projects all over the state that I can’t wait for Illawarra Intrepid Landcare to get amongst, and there was endless laughter (Yes that was Megan and I laughing hysterically through the planetary – oops!).
A morning coffee and ready for a day of inspiring speakers at the National Landcare Conference (Left to right: Jenna, Maddy and Megan)
And to my amazement, people wanted to talk to me and all the other amazing ambassadors (it didn’t surprise me that people wanted to talk to them, their wealth of knowledge was ridiculously impressive). The spotting of the simple Intrepid Landcare logo on our shirts was all that it took for strangers to strike up an enthusiastic and motivated conversation and I believe, that, is a testament to the willingness and need for the programs that support youth involvement, such as Intrepid Landcare, to have the full support of Landcare and other national organisations.
My time in Melbourne really educated me on the hard work and effort that people involved with Landcare over the years have done for this nation and it left me on a complete adrenalin high and with the passion to keep making the small but significant changes in my local area to help possibly inspire others to jump on the band wagon (cult 😉 ) that is Intrepid Landcare.
A huge thank you to Megan and Naomi – all this wouldn’t have been possible with out these two legends. Thankyou so much to Landcare Illawarra for sponsoring me to attend the conference, and also a big cheers to my fellow ambassadors – what a week, I can’t wait to see all your beautiful faces soon!