A COLAC district teenager says she is “over the moon” she reached the state finals in a youth leadership competition.
Colac Secondary College Year 12 student Nara Langdon said her community involvement helped her progress through club, district and zone finals of a Lions Club Youth of the Year award.
Nara competed against candidates from four other Victorian districts at Saturday night’s state finals in Colac, but missed out on national finals to Ashley Rodgers from Cohuna, near the New South Wales border, between Mildura and Echuca.
“The standard was very high,” Nara said.
“I never expected to get this far, so I am over the moon to have made it to state finals,” she said.
Colac Police youth liaison officer Leading Senior Constable Terry Woodcroft, a judge at Saturday’s state finals, said he was a “very strong advocate for Nara”.
“She performed exceptionally well and in my opinion she was right up there with the actual winner; for me it was really, really hard to separate her from the winner,” Sen Const Woodcroft said.
“What made her a great candidate was her confidence, her natural ability to engage the audience and the fact that she has a great story to tell for a young person,” he said.
The Barongarook teen said she had never heard of the Lions Club Youth of the Year award “until I was approached by my school to be shortlisted”.
Nara, daughter of Sue and Tony Langdon, said she was unfazed by the process at each stage, which involved a 30-minute interview, answering two impromptu general knowledge questions and a five-minute prepared speech.
Nara’s commitment to playing and umpiring netball, her experience playing girls football, and her community involvement in groups such as Colac youth health hub reference group Young People Creating, Lady Somers Camp and more than 10 indigenous surf camps at Kennett River Surf Lifesaving Club provided material for her responses.
Leadership and strategies to fight bullying were the focus of her prepared speech.
Nara said she benefited from the youth award process because “it has definitely given me confidence to try new things”.
“You never know how you’re going to go until you give it a try,” she said.
Nara said she would focus on her VCE subjects and “look around and see what else I can be involved in”.