The first was held in the morning, for a group of young people residing in a number of towns in Bass Coast Shire. We worked with the young people to help them identify issues they were concerned about in their area and how they might work to address these. The top three major issues identified were: care for the local environment, attitudes to and of young people, and lack of entertainment. Three groups worked to come up with different actions that young people might take to address the concerns, and there was positive recognition that young people could indeed respond to the issues if they chose to, either individually or collectively.
After the session, a couple of young people used the video camera I had brought with me to interview each other, and a local youth worker, about their thoughts about youth engagement in the area, for potential use in the Youth Engagement Resources project (thanks to Izzy and Alison for being interviewed, Angus for being such a great interviewer and Josh for the excellent camera work!).
The afternoon session was for adults, and drew a wide range of youth practitioners and other people working with young people. Roger and I delivered two presentations: the first encouraged participants to explore the terms ‘participation’ and ‘engagement’ and how these were used in a youth context, drawing in several different theoretical models. The second was a discussion around practical examples for youth participation and engagement strategies within communities and organisations.
These sessions gave me an opportunity to present the themes of the Youth Engagement Resources Project and discuss the ideas the steering committee had generated. The participants voiced support for the goals we are pursuing and there was strong agreement that the resources should make use of new technology and be available on mobile platforms.
Thanks to Jessie Mitchell, YACVic Rural Youth Services Support and Advocacy Officer, Ben Cavender, Youth Planning and Policy Officer, Bass Coast Shire Council, and Wendy Major, Executive Officer, South Gippsland Bass Coast LLEN, for all their work in organising the event, and thanks to Roger for allowing me to integrate the Youth Engagement Resources component.
** UPDATE ** 13/05/13
Young people who attended the first workshop have been invited to form Bass Coast Shire Council’s Youth Advocacy Group. They will work with council staff to discuss how change can be created to build youth engagement in their community.