Getting serious on a serious problem

May 20, 2017

(Back from left) Katherine Porta, Jemma Mills, Liana Coyle, Kate Wilde (host), Annette Waters

WHEN 85 passionate young people get together to discuss bullying and discrimination faced by under-represented youth, the result can only be positive.

And that’s exactly what happened when a forum called ‘Seriously?!’ was held at Radcliffe’s.

Opinions and beliefs on topics that matter to young people most were at the forefront of the session.

Campaspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston said it was great to see so many passionate people engaging and sharing opinions.

All aspects of the project are organised by the Get Involved Youth Steering Committee, which includes 13 young people, who formed in July, 2016.

‘‘The ‘Seriously?!’ summit was a great way to bring young people together from across the shire to workshop campaigns around topics of importance,’’ Cr Weston said.

The ‘Seriously?!’ summit was part of the youth led Get Involved Project, encouraging young people to connect and identify innovative strategies to enable greater participation and influence in their communities. Bullying and discrimination faced by under-represented young people was the focus of the forum, along with promoting positive representations of diverse young people throughout the shire.

Young people were split into 10 focus groups to work on a campaign of importance to them including the development of a key message, slogan and logo/mascot. These campaigns were then presented by each group to the Campaspe Shire mayor and councillors.

Cr Weston said students displayed great confidence and passion throughout the forum, highlighting common themes around equality and acceptance.

‘‘We heard many passionate young people speak about accepting and treating everyone equally, regardless of difference, sexuality, gender, race/culture,’’ Cr Weston said.

The Get Involved Project is funded to the end of the financial year.

A film making workshop and focus group sessions with relevant groups of young people will be a key focus prior to the project’s completion.

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