Australia will enjoy Youth Week from 8 – 17 April – a time dedicated to acknowledging our youth’s role in our community, celebrating their achievements and providing a wealth of activities for everyone to enjoy! Lee Wood from Port Macquarie Hastings Council and facilitator of the YAC tells us more about his role working with youth and fills us in on some of the upcoming Youth Week events …
Hi Lee. What is the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), and what led to its formation?
The Port Macquarie-Hastings Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was established in 1996 as part of the Hastings Development Plan & Healthy City Project and has undergone many forms; however, the aims of the YAC have remained largely unchanged.
The YAC is made up of young people age between 12 and 24 years, who come from different schools, colleges, universities and other youth related groups. They are representatives of the diversity of young people living in the Port Macquarie-Hasting region. (YAC), together with the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Place Making team, work together to develop a youth voice in the community.
What’s your role with the YAC, and what’s involved with this position on an average day?
I work for Port Macquarie-Hasting Council as a Place Facilitator focussed on youth development. Part of my responsibilities is to coordinate and support the members of the YAC to organise and present engaging youth based events, programmes and activities throughout the region.
This includes coordinating the group, presenting at schools, recruiting volunteers, as well as liaising with other youth network groups across the region and ensuring that youth needs are considered through Council projects, infrastructure, planning and events.
What are the aims of the YAC?
- Advise Council on youth issues in the area
- To promote a positive image of young people
- Consult with young people in the community on youth based issues
- To advocate for better services locally for young people
- To be a co-ordinating body which shall call upon and involve other organisations/people to plan and implement community service
- Organise and produce youth events/activities in the region
- Attend workshops, work with mentors and attend youth base conferences
- Apply for grants and seek sponsorship to generate financial support for youth projects
So, what type of people does the YAC help … And how is it able to provide this assistance?
Young people and a voice for youth issues are our focus; however, the YAC also involves itself within the community by partnering with organisations and businesses in the region to enable a youth voice to a wide market. We also involve ourselves and the youth community with a number of charity organisations to help have an effect on a wider scale.
The aim is to provide our local government decision makers with a youth perspective. It also allows focusing on youth development and skill building for those involved in the YAC.
We want our young people to have the best opportunities in life and to get involved in the community and their place. This is done by being a member of YAC or attending the events, programmes or activities that YAC support.
It’s Youth Week in Australia from 8 – 17 April. What activities do you have organised to help our youth showcase and celebrate their talents?
- 11th – 14TH April – Busking Stations – Busking Stations will be set up around the CBD. Young people can register their interest through the Council website and be placed on a roster. This is a great way to showcase our local talent, of which there is an immense amount.
- 13th April – YAC-Koda – A four person team timed event scaling the North Brother track, Laurieton. There will be a gold coin donation from every competitor that will go to the charity Beyond Blue. Great prizes available to the fastest team and to the most outrageously bright outfits on the mountain.
- 13th April – Youth Homelessness Matters Sleep out.
- 14th April – Street Art Mural workshop – Temporary wall will be install on Town Green; young people will have the opportunity to work with amazing local artists to learn more about street art and its styles. We hope to also educate and inform on the issues of tagging and give understanding to the wider community. All materials will be supplied.
- 15th April – Inflatable/Pool Toy Race – Young people will gather at Settlement Point to battle it out in the cutthroat world of Inflatable Toy Racing, followed by a Busk-off Competition and BBQ.
- 16th April – Waves and Melodies – A non ticketed drug and alcohol free music event located on the Town Beach Reserve with local youth bands, Strong Heart, Sophie Landon, Isaac Piruri, Abby Wilson, The Shonas, Jaxoltl, The Side Project, Plebian Groove RoXferry and The Withernecks. Skateboard workshops provided by local legends Green Triangle Skateboards throughout the day, with lighting for night skating, the Tower of Terror Refreshments, games area, an exhibition of street art and digital art projection displays.
- 16th April – After The Wave – For those over the age of 18, the music will continue on after Waves and Melodies courtesy of the Pier on Clarence with RoXferry, Chicken Jo & the Mavericks and Sophie Langdon.
- 17th April – Cosplay at the Library – Anime Group will be showing films during the event, makeup artists will be presenting extreme makeup skills, Cosplay parade/competition with judges awarding prizes for creativity, flair and originality, chopsticks championships, a draw off against Manga Artist Mathew Lynn and refreshments.
The Port Macquarie-Hastings YAC would really like to thank: NSW State Government (grant), Laing & Simmons, The Burger Rebellion, Pretty Rad, Port Macquarie Golf Club, Stormriders, Anaconda, The Beach House, Grumpy’s Meats, FOCUS, Green Triangle Skateboards, Charles Sturt University, Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club, Inner Vision, Port Mac Guitars, Office Works, Sigh, Dimz and CDAT for their generous Sponsorship and Support. Your contributions have a clear message – “The Youth are important and valued members of our community
Why would you encourage our local youth to take part in Youth Week festivities?
Port Macquarie-Hastings Youth Week is a great opportunity for young people to be acknowledged for their place in their wider community, to be involved in skills building events, meet and form friendships with new people and most of all to have a fun. With such a diverse programme of events, there is something for everyone.
What are the YAC’s plans moving forward through the remainder of 2016?
The Youth Advisory Council will continuing their commitment in representing the young people of this region and look at new, exciting and engaging ways to improve the Port Macquarie-Hastings youth community.
Where can readers find out more information?
Keep up to date and get involved with the YAC by liking our Facebook page, or jump onto the Council website and search Youth Advisory Council; also keep an eye out for the new YAC website on the way.Head down to The Glasshouse forecourt on Saturday 9 April from 10am and chat to members of YAC about Youth Week events and grab yourself some goodies.
Thanks Lee. Interview by Jo Atkins.