ANNETTE Waters contribution to the Rochester and district community was recognised last month when she reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards.
Annette, 17, received a certificate from Minister for Youth Affairs Jenny Mikakos in front of 600 people at a ceremony in Flemington.
Among her many achievements, one of Annette’s proudest is helping to charter the Rochester Leo Club (a youth affiliation of Lions Clubs International) five years ago.
She has been involved in a variety of service projects and fundraising activities, as well as club administration.
Annette has represented her club at district, state and international level, and this year she was appointed to serve as the first ever Leo liaison officer on the district cabinet.
“I got involved because I wanted to help out the local community and give back,” Annette said.
“It’s really important for young people to be involved in their community and it’s really rewarding.
“Not many young people are involved in the community and it’s important to foster intergenerational communication to make our communities a better place.”
Annette has also served as the chair of the Campaspe Shire youth advisory group and has also been involved in the shire’s youth steering group, planning activities and strategies to reduce marginalisation of minority and under-represented young people.
Annette also initiated, planned and conducted a major community project as part of her commitment to the Loddon Murray Youth Leadership Program.
She was the organiser and coordinator of Camp LEO – a three-day smoke, drug and alcohol-free event for community-minded young people.
Annette initiated the project and spent more than seven months planning and organising it.
She also approached local businesses for support and she secured donations, which ensured the cost of the camp was kept as low as possible for participants.
“Camp LEO was a way to get young people involved in the community and it was a great experience,” Annette said.
“I had plenty of support from Lions members and without their help it wouldn’t have happened. It took a lot of planning but it was great to network with like-minded people.”
Annette has also been a carer for many years. She helped to support her mother in caring for her late grandfather until his death.
She currently provides care for her father, who developed life-long health issues and disabilities when he survived a stroke in 2010.
Annette said at times it has been difficult to cope with the change to her family’s circumstances, and adjust to her caring responsibilities.
However, she has turned the negatives into positives by using her experience to guide and motivate others who may be disadvantaged due to their caring responsibilities, through her involvement in the Victorian Young Carers Action Team advisory group.
Rochester Lions Club secretary Hedley Moon said Annette demonstrated a maturity beyond her years and has shown initiative that has been of enormous benefit to the groups she is involved with.
“She leads by example. Her dedication and selfless attitude are her key attributes, and her ability to encourage others and instil in them the ability to achieve is noteworthy,” he said.
“She is also reliable, enthusiastic and dedicated. When Annette commits to do something, you can be sure it will be done.
“She inspires other young people to become more involved in their community and freely shares her talents with those around her to make a positive change in her community and the world.”