Young Ambassador Of The Year

young ambassador of the year winner Chelsea GibsonWhat is the Lions Young Ambassador of the 21st Century Award programme?

The Lions Young Ambassador of the 21st Century Award programme, which operates throughout Europe, is part of the Lions Opportunities for Youth initiative. It is a competition that recognises young people (between the ages of 15 and 19) for their outstanding community service involvement, leadership accomplishments, and their speaking ability.  The programme encourages young people to see community service as an integral part of leadership skills. By celebrating achievement alongside community service young people begin to understand the importance of clubs such as Lions and our motto “We Serve”.  The programme is looking for leaders of the future with an emphasis on community service as being part of that leadership.

How is the Award programme operated?

In Ireland the programme starts with individual Lions clubs selecting their candidate through local competition based on application forms and interview. The winners progress to the District (All Ireland) Final in Dublin to select District 133’s Young Ambassador. The District winner receives a trophy and a bursary of €600 to be used for a community project. She/he also participates in a Finals Weekend in the UK (in Feb) to gain initial international experience and, later, represents our District at the Europa Forum in a European city (in 2020 this will be held in Thessaloniki, Greece, in Oct) – expenses paid for both. In addition, she/he will be sponsored to attend a Lions International Youth Exchange and Camp in a European country during the Summer.

What benefits does the programme offer Young People?

The Young Ambassadors Award programme offers young people the following benefits :

  • It encourages them to seek experience in community involvement, leadership and public speaking.
  • It broadens awareness of community service opportunities and organisations.
  • It sharpens their interview and communication skills.
  • It recognizes the value of their achievements.

What are the benefits for Lions?

The Young Ambassadors Award programme offers Lions these benefits:

  • It furthers the Lions ideals, by encouraging young people to pursue community service involvement.
  • It renews Club members’ enthusiasm and commitment to youth and service, though exposure to committed, enthusiastic young leaders in our communities.
  • It strengthens public awareness of Lions and their youth and service initiatives.
  • It introduces young people to future service and leadership opportunities.

Who is our current Young Ambassador?

Alicia-Joy O’Sullivan, from Co. Cork, was chosen as Young Ambassador of the Year at the District 133 Final in Dublin on 26th January. She then represented the District at a Multiple District competition in the UK in February and will also be our representative at the European Finals in Tallinn, Estonia, in October. Alicia (17), a 5th year student at Skibbereen Community School, is a vocal advocate for young people.

She has fundraised for many years for a variety of organisations, including Cork Simon Community, MS Ireland and the Aurelia Trust. Alicia is a member of the National Executive of Comhairle na nÓg and is very active with YMCA Ireland, where she has worked on projects on cybersecurity and online safety.  She was named TechSpacer of the year at the 2018 ESB Creative Tech Fest.  She also finds time to play on her school’s senior rugby team.

Her Young Ambassador project, which she used her €600 winners bursary for, aims to educate parents of Generation Z children on the internet dominated world their kids live in. A world of social media, of pressure to get likes, where “answers” to their questions topics like sex education and mental health, are instantly available online. In April she held a very successful information evening for parents, with a panel of professionals on issues that are relevant to Generation Z.  This was live-streamed through Facebook and she is now establishing a website to host all resources for schools that wish to run the event in the future.

Where can I get more information about the Young Ambassadors Award programme?

You will find detailed information, including application forms, in the attached documents. You can also contact our District Young Ambassador Award Officer, Brian O’Keeffe, at bokeeffe6@gmail.com.