En­abling lead­er­ship

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - FRONT PAGE - By KYLIE WIL­SON

FUNDING pro­vided across the North East as part of the State Govern­ment’s En­gage! 20182020 pro­gram at the be­gin­ning of this year has helped en­cour­age a num­ber of young peo­ple in the re­gion to be­come more in­volved in their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

One such young per­son is Chiltern res­i­dent Jedd Dry­den.

A year eleven stu­dent, Jedd be­came in­volved in a num­ber of youth ini­tia­tives in the re­gion af­ter at­tend­ing an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion led by Indigo Shire Coun­cil youth of­fi­cer Sal Kim­ber.

“I took a chance on that, and it just led to more and more op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said.

Jedd is in­volved in the shire’s Youth Am­bas­sador pro­gram, as well as work­ing at plan­ning events with the Ruther­glen Youth Ac­tion Crew, and has also at­tended a youth pol­i­tics camp.

He said that men­tal health was among the is­sues in the com­mu­nity that con­cerned him the most, hav­ing seen it af­fect a range of peo­ple within his com­mu­nity.

“The state of our youth men­tal health ser­vices needs to be im­proved,” he said.

“It’s a re­ally big is­sue.”

Be­ing in­volved with the var­i­ous groups in the com­mu­nity has helped Jedd build up skills in event plan­ning and man­age­ment, as well as im­prove his peo­ple skills and per­sonal con­fi­dence and his abil­ity to deal with set­backs.

Al­ready a skilled pho­tog­ra­pher and web­site de­signer, his ultimate ca­reer goal is to be a busi­ness owner and/or work in com­puter sci­ence, and Jedd said that the skills he was learn­ing in the com­mu­nity would help him to­wards his fu­ture ca­reer.

He said he was glad to have the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in youth pro­grams in the area and said it would help de­velop the lead­ers of the fu­ture.

“When the time comes, the peo­ple who want to step into that role know how to do so,” he said.

An­other youth ac­tive in Indigo Shire com­mu­ni­ties is Bor­der based teen Jai But­ler, who is part of the Tangam­balanga Youth Ac­tion Crew – which has al­ready or­gan­ised a mu­sic fes­ti­val in their town - and is also part of a group or­gan­is­ing a “Rain­bow Ball” for the end of this year aimed at LGBTQ+ young peo­ple in the North East.

He said that he was ex­cited to be a part of the forth­com­ing event. “It’s pretty cool to be a part of that,” he said.

“I think it shows the LGBTQ+ peo­ple in the re­gion that they’re ac­cepted and sup­ported, and they can come to feel safe and have fun.”

He added that he hoped the ball will be­come an an­nual event.

Hop­ing to pur­sue a ca­reer in act­ing, Jai said that be­ing in­volved in the com­mu­nity had helped his con­fi­dence im­mea­sur­ably.

“I now know how to or­gan­ise events and get things go­ing in the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“It’s an amaz­ing feel­ing.”

One of the other pro­grams in the re­gion to ben­e­fit from the En­gage! 201820 funding was the Healthy Eat­ing and Liv­ing Pro­gram at North East Sup­port and Ac­tion for Youth (NESAY).

The pro­gram runs for five weeks and helps young peo­ple who need help de­vel­op­ing their in­de­pen­dent liv­ing skills, and the En­gage! Funding will see it con­tinue for the next two years.

With ses­sions hav­ing hap­pened in Wan­garatta, one cur­rently hap­pen­ing in Be­nalla and one planned for later this year in Wodonga, Claire An­der­son from NESAY said the classes were al­ready mak­ing a difference for young peo­ple in the re­gion.

She said the pro­gram had helped par­tic­i­pants bud­get more ef­fi­ciently and make con­nec­tions with peo­ple in their com­mu­nity, which she said “of­fers them a sense of pride”.

Claire added that she had seen many peo­ple grow and change by par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram, from try­ing their hand at more com­pli­cated recipes to de­vel­op­ing bet­ter so­cial skills and mak­ing friends within the group.

She said some young peo­ple have been tak­ing in­di­vid­ual HEAL ses­sions, which has also helped their per­sonal con­fi­dence.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the on­go­ing HEAL pro­gram, see nesay.com. au/healthy-eat­ing-liv­ing-heal/, and for more de­tails of what is hap­pen­ing for youth in the Indigo Shire, see the Indigo Shire (Youth Page) on Facebook.

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

YOUNG LEADER: Chiltern res­i­dent Jedd Dry­den has gained con­fi­dence and found fulfilment work­ing with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

PHOTO: Coral Cook­sley

COM­MU­NITY SPIRIT: Peo­ple in­volved in Indigo Shire’s Youth Am­bas­sadors pro­gram (bot­tom row, from left) Ar­wen Cro­p­ley, Emily Payn, Zoe Isaac, Olive Rus­sell; (mid­dle row, from left) Jes­pah Cro­p­ley, Rachel Mur­ray, Sal Kim­ber (Indigo Shire Coun­cil youth of­fi­cer), Har­mony Carmichael; and (top row, from left) Dion wright, Ti­ahn Barnard, Amelia leach Jedd Dry­den, Ol­lie Mur­ray, Leela Rosser and Har­mony Carmichael.

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