Young People Exploring High Quality Engagement

By Paul Kooperman

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On Thursday 5 April, Engage 2 Act Youth was asked to work with Max Hardy and Brimbank Council's Youth Citizens Jury in order to explore ideas to improve the connection between Brimbank Council and local young people.

In typical Engage 2 Act Youth fashion, young people ran the show, presenting ideas to each other for discussion and debate.

Four ideas were raised.

Firstly, a YEP (Youth Empowerment Participation) Strategy where young people could be empowered by Council to make certain specific decisions on its behalf. The young people on the day suggested such decisions could be around facilities or services for young people, youth strategies or policies and places to feel safe and part of the community.

The second idea discussed was around reverse mentorship, where young people could serve as mentors to Council Officers or Councillors on an ongoing basis, advising staff and Council on issues affecting young people.

A third idea raised was the 'kidference' format, where conferences, summits or events are held and run by young people, for young people with 'adult's, Council staff or Councillors in attendance to listen and hear what is said and what young people want. Engage 2 Act  Youth held its first Kidference in January in partnership with Sunbury Community Health with great success. It is at this event where young people determined their rules of engagement, a terrific outcome of this event. Another kidference is being held at Ivanhoe Grammar School in Mernda on Friday 8 June in partnership with the City of Whittlesea, another wonderful opportunity for young people to be heard and influence the community in which they live.

Finally, the idea of a POW (Presence of Wisdom) was proposed, where young people are invited to Council Forums or meetings to deliver a short sharp (prepared) address on an issue they're passionate about. A POW is an opportunity for Council to hear wisdom and a personal perspective on a community issue by young impacted by the issue - a useful tool to receive information which packs a proverbial and powerful political punch.

View this short video of what happened on the day at Brimbank!