Queensland Youth Week 2022: Georgia Hawkes

In celebration of  Queensland Youth Week , meet Emergency Services Cadets participant, Georgia Hawkes.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey at PCYC Queensland

My name is Georgia Hawkes and I am 16 years old. I first began my journey with PCYC Queensland at 12 years of age when I was introduced to the PCYC Queensland Emergency Services Cadets (ESC) Unit in Biggenden by the Unit Leader and school Chaplin, Moira Thompson. Over the following 4 years, Cadets presented me with the opportunity to volunteer at numerous community events, attend personal growth and leadership camps, meet new people and learn valuable life skills.  My time spent with the Cadets Unit helped me to develop confidence and leadership skills which in turn helped me to successfully fulfil my roles as both junior and senior school leader at Biggenden State School.  

My active involvement with PCYC Queensland ESC, along with my school leadership undertakings and dedication over the past 11 years to becoming a dance teacher and working with young people, lead to me being nominated for Biggenden Young Citizen of the Year 2021 Award. I was subsequently awarded and presented this honour at this year’s Australia Day celebrations – an achievement I am very proud of and grateful to have been given the opportunity to accept.  

What programs are you engaged in and why did you join the programs?

Given that it is only the beginning of the year, I am currently engaged with PCYC Queensland Emergency Services Cadets in Biggenden.  

As the year progresses, I am looking forward to being involved in the PCYC Queensland State Youth Leadership Program (SYLP) 3. Having participated in both SYLP 1 and 2 last year I can now progress to the final level of the program, which is invitation only. I hope to also complete The Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award after having completed the Bronze award last year with our Cadets program. 

I joined the PCYC ESC program because it provided opportunities for young people in our area to socialise outside of school, make new friends, learn new skills, and earn certificates in areas such as first aid, CPR and leadership. I also wanted to attend youth leadership and personal development camps, participate in adventurous journeys, be physically active, and get involved in the local community through volunteering. All of these things were very appealing to me as I quite enjoy meeting new people, social networking, learning new skills, and being physically active. 

How does PCYC Queensland help make positive contributions to your community? 

I honestly do not believe that PCYC Queensland fully grasps the degree to which Biggenden appreciates and is thankful for its presence in our community. The PCYC Queensland Emergency Service Cadets Program offers the youth of our community many valuable opportunities that are otherwise unavailable to them due to the limitations of residing in a rural location and the general rising cost of living. Outside of schooling and Cadets, there is not a lot for young people in our town to do as an additional activity. This program keeps our youth engaged in healthy and positive activities and gives us much to look forward to throughout each year! 

Having this program running right at our doorsteps makes it possible for young people in our community to learn valuable life, leadership and interpersonal skills, and to create positive contributions to the community by getting involved in volunteering efforts, recycling programs and community events. All of these things consequently assist the older members of our community in their effort to maintain Biggenden as the warm, welcoming, inviting and family-friendly place that it is.  

Young people in full Cadet uniform, proudly helping run the rodeo, an annual show, a street fair, or the school and community ANZAC and Australia Day celebrations are always welcomed by the community. Our unit’s care and regard for the community and its members are impossible to overlook and we are often commended for our efforts. Just recently our Cadet unit assisted with the cleanup of a neighbouring flood-affected town, Dallarnil, and I can say firsthand that, while certificates and awards are always to be proud of and celebrated, nothing compares to the feeling I got from lending a hand to my fellow citizens in their time of need. It is the PCYC Queensland Emergency Services Cadets program that taught me that sometimes a pair of muddy overalls really can say a lot more about a person than any award, certificate or trophy hanging on their wall at home.  

In addition to our volunteer work in the community, our recycling program runs year-round. We collect cans and bottles from community members, with all proceeds going towards furthering the work of the cadet program. The recycling program is wonderful because it not only encourages recycling within the community which is great for the environment, but it provides a simple yet effective way for community members to support and encourage the continuation of our Cadet program.  

 What do you hope for in your future, or predict for the future of your generation?

Looking toward the future, I intend to study business and social work at university while continuing to pursue my love of dance. My ultimate goal is to establish a small business, such as a cafe or recreational centre, that employs disadvantaged young people, providing them with education, training and qualifications in a fun, safe and enjoyable environment. The business will also showcase local young talent in the fields of dance, art and poetry and provide opportunities for young people to not only join classes but also gain the necessary qualifications and experience to one day run businesses and classes of their own for future generations.  

My personal goals aside, it is my hope that all young people will seek to fully engage in education, sports and other activities that not only work towards bettering themselves but also their communities.  

How will you be celebrating Queensland Youth Week 2022?

This year, Queensland Youth Week falls during the Easter school holidays so I will be spending time at home with my family, studying for my Learner Drivers Licence, preparing for term two school and dance classes…. and eating a lot of chocolate.  

Discover more about the PCYC Queensland Emergency Service Cadets program.