Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year, Rebecca Hogan (centre) with Tweed Shire Council General Manager Troy Green and Tweed Shire Australia Day Ambassador, Meredith Dennis OAM. Photo: SUPPLIED
Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year, Rebecca Hogan (centre) with Tweed Shire Council General Manager Troy Green and Tweed Shire Australia Day Ambassador, Meredith Dennis OAM. Photo: SUPPLIED

BE BOLD: Words to live by from Tweed's citizen of the year

BE BRAVE, bold and take lots of risks.

Those are the words of advice, the Tweed's citizen of the year would offer to her younger self.

Kingscliff's Rebecca Hogan added not only should you believe in yourself, but you should always back yourself too.

About 18 months ago the mum-of-two created the not-for-profit BASE Youth Leadership for the area's year 11 and 12 students as well as the 2019 BASE Leadership Awards Program.

BASE's goal is to identify and celebrate students in their respective areas of excellence and to support them in their future endeavours, including scholarships from Southern Cross University.

It was her hours of unpaid work and contribution to the community on top of running her own businesses which earned the unsuspecting award winner the top gong at 2020 Tweed Shire Australia Day Awards.

Held at the newly-refurbished Tweed Heads Civic and Cultural Centre on Sunday to recognise achievements from 2019, Ms Hogan said she was overwhelmed and humbled to receive the accolade.

 

Chillingham Voices performing at the Tweed Shire Australia Day ceremony at Tweed Heads Civic and Cultural Centre Auditorium
Chillingham Voices performing at the Tweed Shire Australia Day ceremony at Tweed Heads Civic and Cultural Centre Auditorium

 

"It's great to be recognised for something l love doing," she said.

"BASE aims to empower young women and men to strive for excellence and become socially conscious leaders who can make a real contribution to society.

"There are now 12 high schools in the Tweed and Byron Shires involved."

As part of the program, hundreds of young people in the region are recognised in five different areas as well as can listen to keynote speakers.

"It is more about giving them the support to achieve great things," Ms Hogan explained.

"Teaching kids to make genuine connections with people."

"I saw lots of opportunities for students in the Gold Coast and Brisbane and other areas and I thought we could provide more in our area," she said.

Ms Hogan has called the region home for 15 years and said she couldn't imagine living anywhere else.

"It's the best community ever. I just love the community here," she said.

"When I decided to start BASE up, I spent hundreds of hours on the phone and organising things. I contacted as many people that I knew in our area to be involved and nearly everyone jumped on board. Pretty much everyone I asked has been amazing."

The former schoolteacher said she could list dozens of students who had reached out to say thank you after taking part in BASE.

"They have said 'I wouldn't be where I am right now without BASE," she said.

"So many kids because of BASE have been given more opportunities to go to university including scholarships as well as apprenticeships. It has also given people opportunities in the creative arts to take part in music festivals. A number of students have been able to attend different youth forums in Canberra and Sydney."

 

Tweed Shire Australia Day Award winners, including recipients of Honourable Mention awards. Photo: SUPPLIED
Tweed Shire Australia Day Award winners, including recipients of Honourable Mention awards. Photo: SUPPLIED

 

The Tweed Shire Council's Australia Day Volunteer of the Year Award was shared between the Murwillumbah Rural Fire Brigade who dedicate their time, abilities and risk their lives to help the community and Craig McNiven from Men of Business.

As volunteers, the Murwillumbah Rural Fire Brigade members risk their lives to help the community when they are called on to attend all types of emergencies and disasters, including fires, bush fires, motor vehicle accidents, and floods.

It was a popular win, with the representatives from the brigade received a standing ovation from the 300-strong crowd at the event.

In the last two years, Craig McNiven of Men of Business has mentored over 100 teenagers who were all selected by their Tweed schools as being 'at risk youth'. Men of Business runs an eight-week program that covers goal setting, communication, trust, emotions, attitude and family and friends.

 

Rafaela Nascimento, originally from Brazil, enjoys a taste of Australia at a morning tea after the ceremony.
Rafaela Nascimento, originally from Brazil, enjoys a taste of Australia at a morning tea after the ceremony.

 

The program runs for two hours a week and has a fitness program as its core focus.

Young Achiever in Community Service (under 25 years) was awarded to Holly Clements, for her volunteering at Salt Surf Life Saving Club and the wider community.

The Sporting Achievement Award went to 11-year-old Olympia Pope, for her achievements in swimming and surf lifesaving.

 

Tweed Shire Council General Manager Troy Green presents the certificate of Australian citizenship to Melk Stroetzel, originally from Germany.
Tweed Shire Council General Manager Troy Green presents the certificate of Australian citizenship to Melk Stroetzel, originally from Germany.

 

The Community Event of the Year Award was shared between Parkrun Kingscliff and Team Koala.

The Arts and Culture Award was presented to the Murwillumbah Theatre Company.

There were also Honorary Mentions awarded in some categories.

The awards were presented by Tweed Shire Councillors and Tweed Shire Australia Day Ambassador, Meredith Dennis OAM, who was one of Tweed Shire's 2018 Citizens of the Year.

 

Some of the 48 people from 16 countries who received their Australian citizenship on Australia Day at Tweed Heads.
Some of the 48 people from 16 countries who received their Australian citizenship on Australia Day at Tweed Heads.

 

The 2020 Tweed Shire Australia Day ceremony was held at the newly-refurbished Tweed Heads Civic and Cultural Centre and was attended by Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest and Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin.

Forty-eight new Australian citizens from 16 countries were welcomed during the ceremony.