The Koorie Youth Council (KYC) is the voice of young Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders in Victoria. It is an independent not-for-profit organisation that operates as part of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic). ‘Koorie’ is used as an inclusive word, referring to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait person from Victoria or living in Victoria.
Any Koorie aged 12 to 25 who lives in Victoria can become a KYC member. Members elect Regional Councils and a State Council. These groups meet regularly to plan events and activities for members, deliver information and perspectives to Government and grow opportunities for the voice of Koorie youth to be heard and recognised.
I was fortunate to be invited to a KYC strategic planning meeting on 15 June, where I met with the State Council and presented the youth engagement resources project to them.
I began by asking the group to think about what impact they hoped to make in their lives – what personal changes they would like to make and how they would like to make community change. Their responses included:
“Co-founding a youth-led Indigenous climate lobby group”
“Sharing my story and journey through music and dance”
“Creating opportunities for people to talk”
This activity helped us identify some target areas that the resources could help address – potential barriers and supports that might prevent or assist young people in making changes:
- Friends and family members
- Project funding
- Being my own worst critic
- Balancing social life and community life
- Self-motivation and commitment
- Lack of interest from others
- Unsupportive politicians
- Finding the right spaces to work in
- Accessing local government councils
I gave the group copies of the existing Taking Young People Seriously – creating change in your community handbook, and I asked for their suggestions about how these could be refreshed so that they might appeal more to them and young people they knew.
The group’s ideas for the resources were to:
- App- / mobile- / portable device-friendly
- familiar faces (pictures or videos of young people they or their friends recognise and respect)
- something that allows mapping or searching for interests
- youth voices
- an ‘inspiration board’ for young people to post ideas to
- a journal function – to help young people motivate themselves
Promote the resources via:
- a media release
- social media
Make sure the resources:
- create a powerful story for youth engagement
- are relevant, real and believable
- are written in simple language
- are accessible
- if they are printed, use a ‘z-card’ style leaflet style
- keep any Government logos to a minimum
- have no ‘staged’ photos
- acknowledge traditional owners
- are embedded in in government – make sure people use them!
Many thanks to Bronnie Mongta, Elisha Douglas, Greg, Jarrah Jones, Jidah Clark, Meriki Onus, Nayuka Gorrie, Robert McGuinness and Savanna Kruger for their great ideas, and thanks to Greg, as KYC State Coordinator, for arranging my visit.