Reflections on my time as a YACSA Board Member

Last week I had my final board meeting with the Youth Affairs Council of South Australia, marking three years of service.

What an incredible three years it’s been. I have absolutely loved being part of such an important organisation – the peak body for young people and the youth sector in South Australia.

The team at YACSA have so much passion, grit and drive that powers their work. It has been a real privilege to work alongside them, learn from them, be inspired by the things they do.

During my time on the board, I’ve watched the organisation expand the work they do, consult and connect with more young people, and get really clear on how and what they do. (Their “why” however, has always been crystal clear, which is one of the main reasons I joined YACSA).

In this time I’ve learned a lot about governance, strategy and the unique challenges and opportunities facing not-for-profits.

As my first position on a board, I learned how to look at things through a strategic lens (and how to quickly shift from an operational mindset working at the Y during the day, to a governance-focused one at the meeting). That whole “getting off the dance floor and going to the balcony” thing.

I learned how to speak up and back my ideas and input – especially when they sounded different to the other voices. I also learned to shush up when my input was serving me more than it was serving the board or the organisation.

The best – and biggest – learning came from watching the CEO Anne Bainbridge (who has been an incredible mentor to me) and the YACSA team Richard, Kristy, Sean (and Annie & Samara). This was to be bold, steadfast and authentic. To fight passionately and persuasively.

I’d previously thought that nuance and strong beliefs were at odds. That to see complexity, meant having to water down your responses. The team at YACSA have proven that you can bring multiple perspectives and subtleties – and still have a huge amount of fire in your arguments and actions.

It’s been a privilege to be part of YACSA and I can’t wait to see what they achieve in future.

If you want to follow YACSA’s work and/or become a member (free for 12-25yo), head to and check them out on Facebook and Twitter.


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