Ciara Fitzpatrick: Was It as Good as They Said it Would Be?


So … Did I Rate Being a Rural Youth Ambassador?


I can truly say, without any hesitation, that my decision to be involved in the CEP Rural Youth Ambassador Program was one of my best decisions ever.


 Yes, ever.


I mean, no doubt, at the beginning I was a bit uncertain about it all because I had talked to past ambassadors from my school and I felt they didn’t really provide a great depth of information.


 And as a result, way back then when it all began, I was quite uncertain about what I was getting into and I was very nervous when it was time to attend the first forum.


 But, sure enough and with some family encouragement, I packed my bags and headed off for Day One … 


And then I never looked back.

 Well, maybe a little. 


Ok, yes. It was definitely scary leaving my small country town that day and making my way into to the heart of Melbourne all on my own, for the very first time!


But what I gained, by making that leap into the unknown, can not be understated


You see …


I know that without the Rural Youth Ambassador Program I would not possess the skills and confidence that I have now.


Not only did the program gift to me a bunch of new, wonderful friends –  but it taught me to believe in



Education was one of the major topics we debated heavily as a group, with particular focus on the condition of rural education.


It was empowering, having the opportunity to discuss our learning issues with the Minister for Education, senior people from the Department of Education and Training, as well as the Catholic Education Office.


It was invigorating, being encouraged  to express how we felt about country education and the things we miss out on.

It was encouraging, being able to share our experiences of youth aspirations in our rural communities, discussing ways we can improve this issue through greater mentoring.

It was exhilarating to then go forth and represent our collective findings at the 2018 Education State Forum.


As Rural Youth Ambassadors, we were given every opportunity to speak up about our education but we equally spent hours discussing self-growth and how to be the best people we could possibly be … and what it truly meant to ‘be the best You’.


  Who do I look up to and what sort of person do I aspire to be?

 How can I go back to my little country town and make a difference?

 How can I be heard?


 These are just some of the questions I asked myself during the program and I continue to ask them now because the Rural Youth Ambassador program has taught me to continually challenge myself in order to grow.


 Yes, it’s safe to say I’m a bit of a fan of RYA.


 I can’t thank CEP enough for creating it and for enabling it to be what it is because it has truly been one of the best experiences of my life – a new and exciting chapter, from which my world has opened up.



So …. Yes!

I’d say it’s as good as They Said it Would Be.


Ciara Fitzpatrick,

Timboon College
2018 Rural Youth Ambassador