Youth forums in Wanneroo and Mindarie inspire future leaders

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts with Hannah (16, Joseph Banks College), Aiden (15, Butler College), Carly (14, Irene McCormack Catholic College), Shavelle (17, Yanchep Secondary College) and Isabelle (10, Quinns Beach Primary School).
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts with Hannah (16, Joseph Banks College), Aiden (15, Butler College), Carly (14, Irene McCormack Catholic College), Shavelle (17, Yanchep Secondary College) and Isabelle (10, Quinns Beach Primary School).

MORE than 60 young people from across the City of Wanneroo took part in workshops designed to shape the next generation of community leaders.

Primary and secondary students aged 10 to 18 from nine schools took part in youth leadership forums at the Quinns Mindarie Community Centre and the Wanneroo Civic Centre on April 8 and 10 respectively.

The workshops covered topics including the importance of teamwork, different leadership styles and goal setting.

Designed to empower young people to recognise issues, ideas and concerns in their community, they also gave youngsters opportunities to gain leadership experience by identifying innovative and creative solutions.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said the forums formed a key part of the organisation’s overarching Youth Plan 2018-19 to 2020-21.

“With 36.9 per cent of the City of Wanneroo’s population aged under 25, it is essential we recognise their strengths and provide opportunities for engagement,” she said.

“It is important for local government to promote and cultivate leadership skills in young people at a grassroots level, as well as encourage engagement with their local community.”

Each school was invited to develop a project in one of five categories – environment, safety, advocacy, health and inclusion – and was paired with a community advisor who offered coaching and mentorship.

Seed funding, elevator pitches, developing a vision board, outlining a project’s limitations and researching their specific area of interest were popular topics.

Irene McCormack Catholic College students were concerned about the health and wellbeing of their peers, and wanted to develop a way for people to anonymously ask for advice and support.

“Everyone goes through a phase where they need help, and it (mental health) doesn’t get spoken about often enough,” IMCC student Kaleb (16) said.

Yanchep Secondary College students Jessica (16) and Shavelle (17) wanted to arrange a cook-up at their school in order to help students who struggled with access to food or did not regularly bring lunch.

Jessica said learning about leadership at a young age helped inspire confidence.

“It will allow us to make a change in our own school and then make change in the wider community,” she said.

Forum participants will spend the coming months working on their proposed community action projects, before presenting the outcomes to the mayor, elected members and key community stakeholders at the Youth Leadership Showcase on September 4.