Leaders emerge at Youth Summit
They have been invited in to learn how to become leaders in their respective communities but two attendees at this week's All Stars Youth Summit are already having a positive impact in the lives of people around them.
Jarrad Clay and Karnell Leone are two of the 64 teenagers from throughout Australia and New Zealand who have spent the week interacting through a series of workshops, activities and discussions during All Stars week in Brisbane.
It is a reward for participation in mentoring programs conducted by all 16 NRL clubs and another tangible benefit that comes from hosting the All Stars match.
The Indigenous All Stars and World All Stars teams both spent time on Thursday attending the Summit and participating in activities that are designed to develop the students into young leaders in their communities.
In addition to being a member of the Steelers under-17s junior representative team, Jarrad is in Year 11 at Holy Spirit College in Wollongong and participates in a mentoring program through the Dragons.
The youngest in a family of five children, Jarrad credits the influence of his nan, his family and his strong religious beliefs for not only steering him in the right direction but having the courage to help a close mate who had strayed off course.
"It wasn't their fault – it was a person in their family's fault that made him turn out the way he is – but I actually talk to him," said Jarrad, who wants to be an electrician if his goal of becoming a professional rugby league player doesn't pan out.
"With what my mum taught me I've taught him in a way and now he's stopped doing what he was doing.
"I've learnt so much in only a few days [of the Youth Summit]. I've learnt leadership skills, getting to meet all the players is great and you get to make contacts and meet new people."
With a 100 per cent attendance record at school – "Mum doesn't let me stay home unless I'm on my deathbed" – Brisbane-based Karnell came through the Broncos mentoring program to earn her place in the Youth Summit.
Like Jarrad, she is already setting a strong example at home for her 10-year-old brother and says participation in the Youth Summit is something that all Indigenous and Torres Strait Island kids should aspire to attend.
"He's picked up his game, he's starting to listen more I guess because I have a few little talks to him about acting right or whatever," Karnell says of her little brother.
"I have heaps of cousins and they're pretty much like brothers and sisters to me too.
"My nan, my mum and my aunties are always looking after children, folding clothes, doing everything around the house and have a lot on their plate with work and everything.
"But at the end of the day they're still there for us and they teach us heaps of stuff.
"The Youth Summit has encouraged me to study hard, work hard and hopefully achieve what I'm dreaming to do.
"I want to get into teaching out in the communities. If not that an air hostess or working with Indigenous people and try and get into acting, Black Comedy or a NITV news reporter.
"Meeting new people is a great opportunity and I recommend it for any kids who want to try and get on this camp to try and strive to do it."