THE VILLAGE HOTEL, DUDLEY, WEST MIDLANDS.
Once again, the Young Ambassador MD Final has been held in Dudley, with 13 inspirational young people representing all Districts of 105.
If you have never attended this Competition you need to put next year’s date in your diary to see these wonderful young people and hear about their activities within their local communities.
The representative from 105M was 18-year-old Alex Flanagan, sponsored by Shirley Lions Club. A young man who is currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Product Design at A Level. He uses his skills leading a Sunday School group that helps with community events, including the Shirley Carnival, he is determined to influence the people around him. He has planned and run events over the past ten years and is a passionate guitarist giving others the opportunity to learn and play instruments as he believes this helps improve creativity, confidence and spreads happiness. As well as all of this he is just about to complete his Gold DofE.
The weekend started with the Young Ambassadors arriving late afternoon on the Friday and settling into the routines for the weekend. The previous year’s winner Gurleen Kaur was also there to help this year’s candidates settle in. During the evening the interview times were draws by each candidate and noted for the judges, then a buffet meal enjoyed by all, followed by a team building exercise where each team had to make the tallest tower of balloons they could. All great fun.
Alex blowing up a balloon.
The following morning those candidates that were to be interviewed in the morning stayed at the hotel, some choosing to go to the gym or go for a swim to ease their tension. The group to be interviewed in the afternoon were taken bowling by Dudley Lions Club, who are real supporters of this event and do this every year. Those interviewed in the morning went bowling in the afternoon.
The three judges had a very difficult job to do and nobody envied their task. The judges this year were Lead judge Mike Kendall (Business), Jill Hood (Service) and Mike Field (Jubilee Sailing Trust).
Saturday evening came and the Young Ambassadors could get dressed up a little for the Gala dinner, they do scrub up well. It was time for them to let their hair down a little. The dinner was a great success with many clubs supporting their candidates from around the country. Shirley Lions Club got dressed up and accompanied Alex’s family for the evening. The youngsters designed a short entertainment involving magic tricks and a beautiful rendition of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’ that ended up with the rest of the Lions accompanying them, it brought the house down.
As always it wouldn’t be a Lions event without a raffle, the proviso this year was no pudding until all the raffle books were sold. Needless to say, the books were sold and James Curtis the Young Ambassador from 105A entertained each table with card tricks (for a bit of extra cash). They raised £1029 with the raffle and decided it would be donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK.
It was then time for a bit of a dance to end off the day, it took a while but eventually most Lions managed to get on to the dance floor.
Sunday morning came, a little too early for some, this is when the announcements are made to an audience from across the country, there was a good turn out from District M, as well as Chair of Council Heather Jeavons being there to give out certificates.
The winner of the Shipshape award to further leadership skills was Lewis Baillie 105NE, a young man who had suffered terribly with bullying early in his school life and was now working with others to help prevent bullying of young children.
The winner of the whole competition was James Curtis 105A. James has double cochlea implants having very little hearing, along with resultant limited speech as a young child. He has become a national advocate and mentor for deaf children via AVUK. James raises awareness and supports parents of newly diagnosed deaf children and organises peer support. He has also help to raise £420,000 by encouraging celebrities and business support by the AVUK Loud Shirt Day. Despite taking 11 GCSE’s and 4 A levels a year early, he is also a member of the school Magic Circle.
Once again, I ask all Clubs to support this competition, if ever you needed your spirits lifting this is the one for you.
I now challenge more clubs to look out for these wonderful young people within your own community, get them involved and next year I could be writing about them.
If you need any further information, please contact me.
Lion Cath Kendall