11 January, 2018. 34 year old Falefata Hele Matatia, from Fusi Safata and Lefagaoalii Savaii, has been selected as the Samoan delegate to travel to Hawaii and participate in the fifth Young Pacific Leaders (YPL) Conference from January 16-18.
“I’m blessed and thankful for the opportunity to be selected as a representative of Samoa to the YPL Conference and it’ll be my first time to attend”, Falefata told Samoa Planet.
Also attending the Conference will be young men and women from different independent Pacific states, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Falefata has attended similar conferences overseas but is particularly excited about traveling to Hawaii next week.
“I’m very much looking forward to this one, given my role as Director for the Samoa Institute of Sports and the change that I am hoping to see in our sport sector.”
“I applied for this leadership conference because I saw an opportunity to learn from other young entrepreneurs and leaders in their respective fields and how they are helping change their communities and their societies”, he explained.
The S.I.S Director aims to share all that he will learn at the YPL Conference with the youth of Samoa and the young athletes that he works with.
“Leadership is about having a vision of where you’re going, having the integrity to act justly and lead with fairness, and the energy to implement that vision”, Falefata said.
This year’s YPL Conference will be based on education, economic and social development, environment and resource management and civic leadership.
“Education, economic and social development are the key themes that I’m particularly interested in as I see these are the main areas that are really needed by our local athletes to support them.”
“This will also help athletes have a good understanding of their overall performance through strength and conditioning, nutrition, rehabilitation and performance planning”, Falefata added.
Falefata counsels the youth and young leaders to be emerged in the right environment and adds, “Ensure that you are surrounded by the right people that support you and share the same passion.”
After the Conference, each participant is eligible to compete for small grants that will go towards projects in their countries.
“We have some athletes that are in our netball academy coming from Fasitoo and Saleimoa that do extremely well in our programmes and could use a little support with school and transportation costs”, Falefata commented.
“Our journey has always been about empowering young people and the team, and group of people that we have, join up purely to give back and help our young people.”
In addition to being Director of S.I.S, Falefata Hele Matatia is also a Marist Executive Member, Tournament Director for the Marist International 7’s, Secretary of the Faatoia Methodist Youth and a matai at Fusi Safata.