“No challenge or limitation is enough to stop you achieving your dream” (Tate Kemp).
If you are looking for an example of a young person who has worked out what they want to achieve and how they mean to do it – meet Tate!
Talking to Tate, the theme that keeps coming up is getting where you want to be by finding ways to modify your environment and manage or bypass your limitations. He has a long-term enthusiasm for sports, but he can’t realistically lace up footy boots and run onto the field. He delivers presentations to groups, but his speech difficulties mean that people may not always understand what he says. Rather than give up his ambitions, Tate finds alternative ways to be involved. Sometimes he utilises technology or support workers, sometimes he coordinates with friends, and sometimes he calls on his dedicated family.
When he was finishing school, Tate needed to think about his future. He announced to his parents that he was planning a career in public speaking, with an emphasis on increasing awareness of disability and inclusion. Tate’s mum says they were taken aback at first, but like all committed parents, they quickly moved on to the phase of working out how they could assist their son to do what was important to him. Tate is now the proud principal of All Abilities Public Speaking.
His business webpage is engaging and professional, setting out the services offered and the objective that underlies Tate’s work – to promote a genuinely inclusive society.
As well as speaking at a range of schools and other organisations, Tate has presented online to a group in the US and has a presentation scheduled in a few weeks on the Sunshine Coast. This booking is for the staff of the college where Tate is currently completing external studies. Very sensibly, Tate is having a short holiday while in Queensland, taking his brother and brother’s girlfriend along.
Tate is a realist and his early school experience taught him that life as a person who is seen as ‘different’ holds its own special challenges. His mum spoke about the ongoing, exhausting battles for a parent trying to encourage mainstream schools to be accessible and inclusive for a child with disabilities. When Tate moved to the Bullengarook Campus of Sunbury Special School it was a relief for all the family, and because every student there was ‘different’, Tate was no longer treated as someone who didn’t fit in.
It is very clear that he now ‘fits in’ many different places and groups. The letters of recommendation from Gisborne Football Netball Club and Cricket Club acknowledge Tate’s committed volunteer contribution in roles such as timekeeper, scorekeeper and general team morale booster. He is proud to feature as Assistant Timekeeper in the team photos. The footy jumper hanging on his wall, signed by all the players and presented on his 21st Birthday, definitely confirms the high regard of his mates in the team.
Tate’s support worker Sophia, made an important point at the end of our conversation. She emphasised how well known Tate is in his local community and how his visibility and involvement encourages the wider community to be more inclusive and to be more aware that everyone belongs and has the right to the life of their choice.