Young people shine during Youth Month
Healthy Glenelg LDAT
Skittles is an LGBTQIA+ youth group in Portland, VIC, run by the Healthy Glenelg LDAT. The group has been busy during the early months of 2021, organising activities for local young people.
The Pride Picnic Warrnambool involved taking a bus of around 10 Skittles members to Warrnambool. They met up with Yumcha, another LGBTQIA+ awareness group, for a picnic. There were LGBT flags around the picnic area and many of the group wore bright colours and t-shirts that they screen printed the week prior. The two groups completed some ice breaker games, shared pizza and had time to get to know one another.
“It was a very successful day, and the picnic drew attention to the community, with a few locals coming up and showing interest around what the programs were about,” said Madeleine McKinna, a Youth Development Officer at Glenelg Shire Council.
Healthy Glenelg LDAT has also recently organised gender-free haircuts free of charge for Skittles members at Gazebo salon in Portland, and a school holiday picnic in the Portland Botanic Gardens. Planning for term two was done in consultation with the young participants. Ideas included recreational activities that will be lead by Skittles group members, as well as health services they would like more information about and potential local LGBTQIA+ guest speakers.
SCHEMA Action Team LDAT
This Queensland LDAT is focussing their efforts on fun outdoor activities for young people. During 2021, the SCHEMA Action Team LDAT is using the Strong and Connected Communities Toolkit to collaborate with five partners to deliver ten community events at ten skateparks in the Brisbane metro area for at-risk young people aged 10-30 years.
The events will offer skateboard and scooter competitions, music concerts and market-style stalls, to increase attendees' engagement in sport, music, mental health support and volunteering opportunities. The goal is to increase their sense of social connection, community engagement and wellbeing, which are proven protective factors against alcohol and other drug harms.
One of the LDAT’s skate park events was held on April 16 at Inala, which coincided with Queensland Youth Week.
“SCHEMA LDAT are leading the way by creatively engaging youth through skating, music and volunteering opportunities through their community skate park events access Brisbane,” said Ashlee Adams-Smith, Senior Community Development Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
“The LDAT is also building relationships with other local LDATs in greater Brisbane to drive up engagement in the local suburbs that these events will be held at – an LDAT program first, as no other LDAT Community Action Plan has involved collaborating with other LDATs to deliver activities.”
Cardinia Strategic Reference Group LDAT
Based outside of Melbourne, this LDAT trialled a bike maintenance project over the summer holidays, supported by Reclink. The session was very successful, and approximately 30 children participated.
The Community Action Plan (CAP) brings together a previous activity – the Men’s Shed – and combines it with a new activity to foster cross-generational connections. Living & Learning Pakenham, Men’s Shed and Reclink ran four sessions over two weeks as an Easter school holiday program, involving bicycle maintenance and safety for young people.
The Men’s Shed and Reclink took on a mentoring role to the young people. This project aims to increase the engagement of young people with older community members, and increase awareness of bike and road safety and local services.
The young participants learnt how to perform safety checks, how to change a flat tyre and broken chain, skills such as riding, signalling, cornering and riding side by side. They also had a First Aid session, run by St. Johns Ambulance and a road safety session, run by Victoria Police.
“We aligned the program to run on the same days as when the African Homework Club meets at Living & Learning Pakenham. This meant that most of the participants were from the African communities living in and around Pakenham,” said Max Godber, Living & Learning Pakenham.
“One of the kids told me "I haven't touched my bike in over two years, but I've never had so much fun riding a bike!" Another child said how much they loved learning how and when to change gears while riding - something they had never been taught.”
Huon Valley LDAT
As part of activities leading up to Tasmanian Youth Week, this LDAT has partnered with Huon Valley Council to create a five-minute video that will be part of the Huon Beings series.
It is driven by the Council’s Youth Committee who wanted to share their stories of living in the Valley and talk about their strengths. Filming and production are being carried out in April. Previous videos in the series are already published on YouTube.
The idea behind the video project came when the Committee identified that they wanted to change the community’s views of young people and felt that featuring in the Huon Beings series was one way to do this. They want to raise awareness that young people who live in the community should be valued.
The Youth Committee has been a key consultant on all activities delivered under the LDAT’s current CAP.
This work has shown the importance of consistent engagement with youth. By having the Committee on board and providing valuable feedback on the barriers to participation, the LDAT is able to work towards engaging youth further.
“The Huon Valley LDAT, by providing safe and consistent spaces for young people and their families to engage, are making a valuable contribution to their community in ways that were not present before. It’s a pleasure to be working with a group so passionate about strengthening the presence of protective factors in a young person’s life,” said Shae Collis, Senior Community Development Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
The Wodonga LDAT has a creative approach to engaging teenagers in harm reduction messaging. The Deck’d campaign encourages youth to get involved and to look out for one another. This is the LDAT’s second time running the Deck’d design contest and skate event.
For the design contest, involving artworks on skateboard ‘decks’, the LDAT asked young people think about the things in life that would help them or a friend to avoid harms from drugs. The contest has the participants focus on the ‘protective factors’ and share messaging that encourages peers to seek support. It was supported by a digital media campaign.
This year, the Wodonga Council Youth Team had a large role in the campaign. This collaboration resulted in the involvement of area councils (Towong, Alpine, Indigo, Wangaratta, Benalla, Strathbogie, Mansfield, Mitchell) through the 45 Degrees Youth Network and art workshops in local schools in early 2021, reaching hundreds of students.
“It has been a great project. [Prior to the event] I went to check out the art from last Deck’d at Wodonga Plaza and had a chat to a group of kids also having a look. They said that they would definitely be at the event. It’s very exciting,” said Janelle, Senior Community Development Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
The Deck’d event was held at Al’s Skate Co. in Wodonga in April, and included the awards presentation for the design contest, as well as free skate lessons, a mural art workshop and a live DJ. Each participating council offered free bus services for locals wanting to join in on the event in Wodonga.
The project aims to start the conversation around alcohol and other drugs. It also gives young people in the area the chance to try new hobbies such as art, photography and skateboarding. Local health services such as Headspace were present at the event.
Walking the Talk with Young People LDAT
Young people in the City of Adelaide are creating a podcast series, where they share their experiences and provide information to increase other young people’s assertiveness and active bystander skills. The aim is to help their peers deal with peer pressure and provide solutions on how to best respond to situations to avoid life choices that lead to negative outcomes.
The group is working with Podbooth to create the ten episodes. The podcast series will be launched during South Australian Youth Week in early May.
“It’s important in the process that the young people have been in the driver’s seat, they’ve generated the concepts and the scripting. We’ve provided evidence and ideas on what might support better understanding,” said Sean Lappin, Managing Director at Connected Self.
The LDAT partners includes Connected Self, Specialist Assistance School for Youth, St John’s Youth Services and City of Adelaide.
“The LDAT partners are all passionate about having the activity led by young people for young people and, bringing to light the importance of the youth voice,” said Liana Bellifemini, Senior Community Development Officer at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.