Most people, even of mature age, tend to simply freeze up if they are put in front of a group of people whom they don't know personally and are asked to give a speech. If they are of school age, well…
 
So it came as a quite refreshing change to see Malia McMahon, just 14 years old, quite confidently get up in front of a bunch of mostly elderly, mostly unsmiling gentlemen [OK, I said mostly, there were some young members as well as ladies there too! ☺ Ed.] and give us a presentation about herself and particularly about her experiences at the recent RYPEN (Rotary Youth Program for Enrichment) camp. RYPEN is for 14 – 16 year olds, ‘designed to develop skills that will assist them in transition to adulthood. She was nominated by the Surfers Paradise SLSC as an emerging leader and sponsored by our Rotary club.
 
You can download Malia’s full speech, well worth reading, from the Download Section on the right, so I won’t rehash it. But one of the outstanding moments was when she briefly struggled with her emotions. “The CODID-19 lockdown in 2020 was one of the hardest things I’ve probably ever experienced. I experienced frustration… anger… tears… and for the first time in my life… a form of depression.”  Malia described the typical symptoms of depression she experienced: lack of motivation to accomplish anything, wanting to do nothing but sleep all day… With a bit of ‘physical close standing by’ from her mum, she quickly recovered herself though. And that is the hallmark of a future leader: the ability to recover, to regain control.
 
Thank you Malia. That was impressive indeed.
 
Photo: Malia (right) with the meeting's Chairman, Ashleigh Symes