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OUR STORY BEGINS IN 2014

OUR VISION FOR THE WORLD

A WORLD WHERE…

AT OUR FOUNDATION…

WHO ARE WE?

Burn Bright is a social enterprise, not-for-profit organisation, that was established in 2014. Burn Bright exists to promote the prevention of mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression. We help young people to look after their mental health and wellbeing in a proactive and preventative way.  We do this through using a range of positive evidence-based strategies that help young people to take charge of their lives.

At Burn Bright we encourage, challenge and develop students through tailored experiential leadership, wellbeing programs and national camps.  We are student leadership and wellbeing specialists who work with students from Year 5 to Year 12 in a collaborative, fun and inclusive team culture. This brings about positive behavioural change, a shift in mindset and personal wellbeing, allowing students to make informed choices and decisions.

We have a team based in Sydney and Melbourne who travel to all parts of Australia to work with young people and partner with schools on a daily basis.

The acquired leadership behaviours, wellbeing habits and character traits help build meaningful, healthy and positive long-lasting skills and friendships that will continue beyond the school years.

In short, Burn Bright provides the fuel and the spark that ignites the potential within every student, leading to enhanced self-efficacy and a heightened sense of personal wellbeing.

The scope for growth of our work is limitless and we want to invite you to be a part of our journey.

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Australian Charities and Not For Profits Commission

Burn Bright is a Not For Profit organisation, officially registered as a Public Company Limited by Guarantee. Burn Bright is registered with the Australian Charities and Not For Profits Commission (ACNC). On the ACNC’s website you can find out the legal information about Burn Bright. Burn Bright does not have Deductible Gift Receipt (DGR) status.

MENTAL HEALTH, MENTAL ILLNESS, WELLBEING AND FLOURISHING

Burn Bright exists to promote the prevention of mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression. We help young people to look after their mental health and wellbeing in a proactive and preventative way.  We do this through using a range of positive evidence-based strategies that help young people to take charge of their lives.

Burn Bright’s vision is for all young people across the world to be flourishing.  We do this through using a range of positive evidence-based strategies that help young people to take charge of their lives and to help equip them with the experiences and tools so that they can flourish. Burn Bright believes that being mentally well is an absence of mental illness (for Burn Bright this is a focus on anxiety and depression) state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with people and the ability to adapt to social change and to cope with adversity.

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Mental Illness

Refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders involving – at Burn Bright this means for anxiety and depression.

  • Significant changes in thinking, emotion and behaviour
  • Distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.

Preventing mental illness aims to:

“reduce the incidence, prevalence, recurrence of mental disorders, the time spent with symptoms, or the risk condition for a mental illness, preventing or delaying recurrences and also decreasing the impact of illness in the affected person, their families and the society” (Mrazek & Haggerty, 1994).

Mental Health

A state in which an individual is able to realise his or her own abilities, handle day-to-day events and obstacles, function effectively among his or her peers, and engage in health-promoting behaviour (World Health Organization). The purpose of mental health promotion is to prevent and reduce the rates of mental illness, namely anxiety and depression.

Wellbeing

The concept of psychological wellbeing refers to optimal psychological functioning and life experience. Burn Bright’s ‘wellbeing’ programs don’t refer to a general sense of wellbeing but a specific definition of psychological and eudaimonic wellbeing.  Eudaimonic wellbeing explains that wellbeing is just more than being subjectively happy, eudaimonia is about the actualisation of human potential and true nature (Deci & Ryan, 2001).  Eudaimonia occurs when people’s life activities are most congruent with deeply held values and are holistically or fully engaged. Under such circumstances people would feel intensely alive and authentic, existing as who they really are (Deci & Ryan, 2001).

Flourishing

Burn Bright uses the word ‘flourishing’ to describe individuals who are free from mental illness (anxiety and depression) and exhibit high levels of emotional and psychological wellbeing and high levels of positive functioning (i.e., psychological and social wellbeing).

Burn Bright uses the word ‘flourishing’ as a psychologically validated word for moving young people towards the flourishing end and away from the mental disorder end (depression and anxiety). Ultimately it is Burn Bright’s goal to have less young people suffering from anxiety and depression and more young people ’flourishing’.

THE BURN BRIGHT TEAM VALUES

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THE SYDNEY OFFICE

THE MELBOURNE OFFICE

THE NEW ZEALAND OFFICE

BURN BRIGHT WORKS ACROSS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

WE IMPACT YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH…

Student Leadership Programs

We empower young people through leadership strategies, to enable peer to peer support for others and promote strategies for mental health prevention within their schools and communities.

Our leadership programs educate students through the lens of servant leadership and that to lead others purposefully, they must first learn to lead themselves.  Students leave our leadership programs understanding what it takes to become a servant leader, how to use their influence well and importantly, how to incorporate proven leadership qualities into their own daily lives.

Wellbeing Programs

Burn Bright’s ‘wellbeing’ programs don’t refer to a general sense of wellbeing but a specific definition of psychological and eudaimonic wellbeing. Our wellbeing programs are specifically designed to enable young people to build a solid foundation of character and values to ignite their lives with the possibility of the future. These programs are a dynamic and engaging way to learn about oneself and the people around them. The acquired leadership behaviours, wellbeing habits and character traits help build meaningful, healthy and positive long-lasting skills and friendships that will continue beyond the school years.

National Camps

Burn Bright delivers camps across Australia. Burn Bright’s prestigious National Leadership Camp is hosted every year in the July school holidays in Sydney. National Leadership Camp brings together 120 high school students from year 10 to 12 over 4 days to explore who they are as leaders and to develop and grow their capacity to serve others and their local communities in a fun and engaging way. Burn Bright also hosts the Perth College Leadership Camp for year 11 and 12 girls in Western Australia during the January school holidays.

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Our Burn Bright Leaders

Burn Bright Leaders lead by example. They have demonstrated the capacity, skill-sets and personal attributes to inspire their students to embrace the notion and actions required to become leaders themselves.

All Burn Bright programs have a minimum of two leaders irrespective of the size of the group, allowing them cater to the personalities and learning styles of all students. Every Burn Bright Leader is a strong communicator. When they talk to students our Leaders use real stories and life experiences that build credibility, rapport and a sense of a shared understanding.

SAY HELLO TO OUR TEAM

  • Andy Skidmore
    Andy Skidmore CEO

    Andy is a life long social entrepreneur and is passionate about equipping young people to grow as leaders by taking a wellbeing approach and fostering positive and meaningful relationships. 

    When he was 21 he founded the Not For Profit organisation Burn Bright, a social enterprise with the mission of growing the next generation of young Australians through student leadership, wellbeing programs and national camps.  Over the past 5 years Burn Bright has worked with over 50,000, 12-17 year olds, from all corners of Australia through school based programs and hosting the Australian National Leadership Camp.

    Burn Bright are student leadership and wellbeing specialists who work with students in a collaborative, fun and inclusive team culture. This brings about positive behavioural change, a shift in mindset and personal wellbeing, allowing students to make informed choices and decisions. Burn Bright’s programs are focused on demonstrating how students can turn theory into action by practicing and road testing skills learnt before applying them in their own lives. Burn Bright has a team of 10 staff and over 100 volunteers.  Burn Bright’s programs are based on embedding and living out the concepts of positive psychology and are informed by the science of wellbeing. 

    In 2018 Burn Bright was named Australia’s Most Innovative Charity by Westpac and UNSW, due to their company culture and their social enterprise business structure. Burn Bright has also won awards for their outstanding use of data and have been recognised by Anthill as one of 100 ‘Cool Australian Companies’ in 2018.  Andy is regarded as one of Australia’s leading social entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers to solve some of Australia’s most complex social issues. 

    Andy graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts – Media. He has studied Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University in the USA and is currently studying his Masters in Coaching Psychology at Sydney University.

  • Layton Fraser
    Layton Fraser COO

    Layton Fraser is the Chief Operating Officer and program facilitator at Burn Bright Australia.

    With a Kiwi accent, it’s easy to miss that he was actually born in South Africa before his parents made the move to New Zealand. Having a strong background in the sporting industry and sports coaching, Layton approaches facilitation from a unique perspective and vantage point.

    Upon leaving school Layton studied a sports degree and had the opportunity of working for New Zealand Cricket and the BLACKCAPS for over 6 years, with the 2015 Cricket World Cup being a highlight. Working alongside a professional sporting team provided not only many incredible opportunities, but also gave an insight to how athletes handle and use their inherited influence.

    Throughout his younger years, Layton also developed a keen interest in leadership and the opportunities that came with it. This started with Layton being one of the founding members of the Hauraki District Youth Council and flowed on to him attending many leadership forums and events around the globe in his post high school years.

    Through attending, facilitating and keynote speaking at these leadership events Layton, started flirting with the idea of how these higher-level concepts and conversations can be transferred and be taught in an engaging and transformative way to school students.

    Whilst no longer working with the BLACKCAPS, Layton has not completely stepped out of the professional sporting landscape and for the 2018/19 season is involved with Sydney Thunder BBL & WBBL franchises.

  • Sarah Ashton
    Sarah Ashton Programs Lead

    Sarah was born and raised in a small country town in Northern NSW. She moved to Sydney Independently at the age of 16 to pursue her studies for year 11 and 12, and talents as a dancer at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. After graduating Sarah struggled with Anxiety and Depression and was referred to KYDS, an organisation that provides easy access to mental health and well-being support to young people within the community. Because of the help Sarah received at KYDS she gained the confidence to pursue a 6 month Bollywood contract in India.

    Upon returning to Australia Sarah studied a Bachelor of Media and Communications at Macquarie University and then went on to pursue her passion for the Film and TV industry at the International Screen Academy. Along with her studies Sarah was appointed the role of Youth Ambassador for KYDS where she used her own experiences to benefit others, encouraging other young people to seek help, reduce stigma amongst the broader community, as well as raise awareness and funds for the organisation.
    Her work with KYDS led her to Burn Bright and cemented her passion for positively influencing the youth of today.

    In Sarah’s down time she has a love for rock climbing, karaoke and chasing adventures with her wonderful fiancé and step daughter.

  • Michaela Young
    Michaela Young Camps, Digital and Community Lead

    Michaela is a lover of people and all things that allow individuals to live full and well lives.

    Michaela grew up in Sydney and completed her high schooling and university there, too. In 2014 Michaela completed a Bachelor of Events and Leisure Management at UTS. Whilst studying she worked for the YMCA for 3 years in Before and After School Care. Soon after graduating, Michaela serendipitously learnt of Burn Bright through a friend, emailed Andy, volunteered for a few weeks, and then joined the team soon after.

    After almost 4 wonderful years with Burn Bright, Michaela embarked on a belated ‘gap year’ that led her to teach English overseas in Thailand. Not wanting to leave Burn Bright for too long, she returned to Australia in September of 2019 with the hope of joining the Burn Bright team for round two. 2020 saw Michaela in a new role as Camps, Programs and Community Manager.

    Michaela is her best self when investing in the people and communities around her, both in her personal and professional life. Life’s’ golden moments for Michaela include anything to do with connecting with others, adventure, good food and taking in a pretty view.

  • Alejandro Zambrano
    Alejandro Zambrano Schools and Partnerships Lead

    Alejandro is the Schools and Partnerships Lead for Burn Bright. He is passionate about the development of young people and making a difference in their lives. He has always been active within the Victorian community supporting Rotary Youth Leadership programs and providing recommendations to the Victorian Government Minister of Youth as part of a Youth Advisory committee.

    Alejandro first came to the National Leadership Camp as a student when he was in high school and has since taken part in every Burn Bright NLC.

    After completing his Bachelor of Business (International Business) and Diploma of Languages (Spanish) Alejandro worked in the corporate sector working for several global organisations. Alejandro specialised in Human Resources, with a focus on Training and Development. He is also an Officer in the Australian Army (Reserve) where he regularly leads large contingents of personnel.

    In late 2017 he joined Burn Bright to open the Melbourne Office and partner with more schools across Australia.

  • Harry Steer
    Harry Steer IT, Systems and Digital Content Lead

    Harry first encountered Burn Bright as a delegate at the 2016 National Leadership Camp where his passion for leadership and service was sparked. After returning to National Leadership Camp for a second year as an agent and third year as a mentor, he joined the team as a Casual Facilitator in 2018.

    During his time at Burn Bright, Harry has developed a real passion for helping others to unlock their strength and be the best they can be. He hopes to further his passion by influencing change in young people around Australia and watching them undertake their own leadership journey.

    Through his journey at Burn Bright, Harry started hopping behind the camera and keyboard, developing skills in photography, videography, web design and system automation. Continuing to develop and grow on these skills, he now serves as the lead for our IT systems and works alongside the team to create content across our social media channels and online courses.

    When Harry isn’t working with Burn Bright, you can find him trying out different cafes around Sydney, writing in his notebook, skateboarding or playing basketball.

  • Cam MacCarthy
    Cam MacCarthy New Zealand Schools and Partnerships Co-ordinator

    Cam is a young guy with a heart for making change. After spending a year as a Youth Ambassador for World Vision Cam has joined the Burn Bright team as the New Zealand Schools and Partnerships Co-ordinator.

    While at World Vision Cam was heavily involved in Leadership Conferences and running workshops with young leaders across Aotearoa. He worked mostly with School Students empowering them to make a difference on a global scale.

    Cam grew up in the small Waikato town Te Awamutu, where he stepped into leadership from a young age. Holding roles in Primary school, Intermediate and then being involved in leadership in his High School years. Through this Cam came to the understanding that anyone can be a leader and has become passionate about helping others understand their potential in leadership.

    After graduating high school early, Cam went on to study Broadcasting and then work for one of NZ’s leading media providers Mediaworks. He spent over a year doing a range of work with them from Sales to Content to Promotions and Events.

    At the beginning of 2019 Cam’s three younger siblings and parents moved to Cambodia on mission. Around a similar time, he left Radio and begun his journey with World Vision creating a love for work fighting Global Injustice.

    In his time off Cam is involved with Social Media Marketing and enjoys good food with good people. He loves his Waterskiing and could never turn down an opportunity to adventure with his mates.

  • Peter Strempel
    Peter Strempel Office Support

    Peter was born in Perth and moved to Sydney in his early 20’s to continue work as a youth worker and surfboard maker.  This was followed by 30 years working in IT as a computer programmer.

    Following retirement in 2016 he searched for an organisation that was aligned with his values of servant leadership and service, especially in the youth space.

    This search led to Burn Bright where he is now volunteering one day a week and mentoring at the National Leadership Camp.

    Peter has been married to Denise for 38 years and they both feel part of the Burn Bright team.

    When not at Burn Bright you may find Peter running along Manly beach, riding his mountain bike or indulging his passion for photography.

  • Elinor Bowman
    Elinor Bowman Program Facilitator

    Elinor grew up in regional NSW in a town called Singleton, and moved to Sydney in 2018 to study a double degree in law, and international studies at Macquarie University. She is passionate about helping others realise and achieve their goals.

    Elinor first became involved with Burn Bright when she attended the 2016 National Leadership Camp as a delegate. She then returned to the camp in 2017 as part of the agents program. The growth and development she endured throughout this process inspired her to help empower other young people, leading her to apply and consequently become successful in returning to camp in 2018 as a mentor. She is now one of the newest members of the BB facilitation team, bringing her quirk and energy.

    When she’s not working she’s volunteering with girl guides, manning the Bunnings barbecue with her fellow Lions Club members, socialising or helping on the family farm

  • Sarah Dunn
    Sarah Dunn Program Facilitator

    Sarah was born and raised in a small farming community in North Queensland prior to her move to Sydney in 2019. Sarah has always had a passion for supporting community projects and thriving for positive and rewarding relationships with others. This has lead to her participation and involvement in school councils, local community groups and many fundraising events throughout her life. She is keen to continue this passion and inspire positivity in students with Burn Bright.

    Sarah developed an interest for performing from a young age and has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Theatre (Specialisation Musical Theatre) in 2019 from Central Queensland University. She hopes to go on and complete her Masters sometime in the near future.

    Outside of work, Sarah enjoys singing, playing tennis, going bowling with her friends and visiting the beach

  • Melanie Brading
    Melanie Brading Program Facilitator

    Melanie recently graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Social Justice and a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language.

    She believes leadership and a strong understanding of self and others is the key to positive change, and is passionate about serving others, mentoring, and striving for excellence.

    She has been inspired by international leaders and attending leadership events such as the Global Young Diplomats Forum.

    She leads several volunteer teams and is a local youth leader.
    In her spare time, Melanie loves reading every thing she can get her hands on, cooking and writing.

  • Nadia Edmond
    Nadia Edmond Program Facilitator
    Nadia was raised in Christchurch, New Zealand. This year, Nadia will study a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Canterbury.
    From a young age, Nadia competed competitively in Karate. This taught her confidence, discipline, and she soon became a role model to the younger Karate Ka’s. Nadia grew her leadership throughout her teenage years by being active in school committees, sports teams and cultural groups.
    Her passion for social justice lead Nadia to become a World Vision Youth Ambassador. Through leadership conferences and workshops, Nadia worked with the youth of New Zealand, inspiring students to reach their leadership potential while creating a difference globally. Nadia believes leadership is having a strong sense of self and positively using your
    influence to empower others to strive for collective excellence.
    In her free time, Nadia enjoys spending time with family, adventuring with friends, being outdoors and music.

MEET OUR BOARD

  • Matt Schultz
    Matt Schultz Chairperson

    Matt’s passion and focus is young people and leadership and you can see this reflected in his achievements
    and the communities he has been willing to serve throughout his life. Matt graduated from the University of
    Newcastle in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Japanese. After his graduation Matt begun working
    for the Not-For-Profit mentoring organisation ‘Rush’. As mentor coordinator Matt was able to impact the
    lives of countless young people throughout the Newcastle and Hunter regions.

    In 2011, Matt graduated with his Masters of Teaching and for the last 4 and a half years he has been teaching
    history at a high school in Newcastle. Matt has also volunteered as a mentor at National Leadership Camp and at the
    Canberra based National Student Leadership Forum. One thing you may not know about Matt is that he can
    recite the alphabet backwards in 7 languages. Feel free to ask Matt to show you this skill if you ever see him around!

  • Cath Healy
    Cath Healy Non-Executive Director

    Cath believes investing in the mental health and wellbeing of young people is investing in our future. She’s a passionate supporter of Burn Bright and the positive impact that their programs and camps have on the young people in Australia and New Zealand.

    Cath has a double degree in Social Work and Arts majoring in Psychology & Sociology and a Graduate Diploma Mental Health Science majoring in Children & Adolescents.  She has extensive experience working with children, young people, their families and schools as a Wellbeing Practitioner in NSW and as a Student Support Services Officer in VIC.

    Cath lives in Rural NSW with her husband and two sons and works in Private Practice, providing online and face-to-face therapeutic counselling.

  • Blair Vincent
    Blair Vincent Non-Executive Director
    Blair grew up in Sydney, playing Rugby Union from an early age. This passion has continued to this day, and has translated to a fierce competitive streak. Spending some time working alongside CEO Andy Skidmore, I learned firsthand the value of strong working relationships. The highlight was a roadtrip to Finley then on to Canberra, 6 hours whizzing by in the blink of an eye.
    More recently Blair has been working at Macquarie Bank, learning along the way the many challenges of leadership and managing people. Blair is married to Hannah, a deeply compassionate yet quick-witted social worker.
    On weekends you’ll find me either playing sport, watching sport or catching up with mates.
  • Ammy Lewis
    Ammy Lewis Non-Executive Director

    Ammy is impassioned by two things: leadership and the law – and she considers her positions on the Burn Bright Board and as a solicitor to be a perfect marriage of the two.

    Ammy holds a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of International Studies and has worked for the Vice President of the Fair Work Commission and as a solicitor in the world’s largest specialist employment law practice.

    Ammy attended her first National Leadership Camp in 2009 and has made it her mission to change the lives of young people ever since.

    Ammy believes in the power of education and is a champion for mental health awareness in the law and breaking the cycle of disadvantage.

  • Edward Swayne
    Edward Swayne Non-Executive Director

    Ed is the numbers man on the Burn Bright Board!

    Throughout his career, he’s worked with top-tier investment banks. Ed has significant experience with capital raising projects and has worked across major Merger and Acquisition deals.

    He studied a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics at Macquarie University majoring in Actuarial Studies & Finance.

    He’s the proud Dad of Ethan & Anna and is a stock market guru.

  • Andrew Lawrence
    Andrew Lawrence Non-Executive Director

    Andrew brings broad business experience to the Burn Bright Board!

    Through a 30 year career he has driven growth and profitability at Visy Industries, Dairy Farmers, Mars, Colgate and Nestle after commencing as a Graduate Trainee at Unilever. He holds a BE and BSc from Sydney Uni and a MComm from UNSW. He has led or been on leadership teams and boards in his key roles for over 20 years and brings a wealth of experience to the BB team.

    Beyond this business career he had been a life mentor to many over the past 10 years and has a passion for young people to be transformed into the leaders of the future in whatever they do. He built a number of high performing teams through his business career and loves seeing people reach their full potential and making a mark on this planet. In recent years he has completed coaching certifications and a range of other courses in the personal transformation space and is also a Personal Trainer with Vision PT and trains a number of professional clients most mornings.

    He is married to the beautiful Jess and has 3 early 20’s children who are awesome and are exploring their passions in this world with amazing success. They have taught Andrew plenty over the years and they share awesome relationships these days despite having to take a tough road at times to get to here. He grew up in Adelaide then Sydney from the age of  13 and has lived in Melbourne and Albury but now resides back in Sydney.

  • Jess Sargent
    Jess Sargent Youth Advisory Committee Chair

    Jess grew up in a small country town in rural NSW. At the age of 16 she spent a year aboard on Rotary youth exchange in Germany. Jess followed out her schooling years at an all-girls boarding school in Sydney.  Jess then went on to study a Bachelor of Business Management, where she spent a semester aboard studying in Spain. It was during her third year at university that she took on an internship in a small hard rock quarry in the Central west of NSW. Since this internship it has been through her passion of leadership, rocks and women empowerment that has allowed her to quickly develop her career in the construction industry. Jess’s current role is Transport Supervisor in Melbourne for a concrete company overseeing to the day-to-day running of over 200 trucks and drivers. Jess the youngest branch member in Australia as she sits on the Melbourne branch for the Institute of Quarrying.  She is also the Chair of the Burn Bright Youth Committee. Jess’s story is about vision, female empowerment and passion for the construction industry.

WE COULDN’T DO THIS WITHOUT OUR ALL STARS

Organisations We Partner With

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National Leadership Camp Supporters

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Business Supporters

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THE PEOPLE