Get in with FreeZA

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - By JUSTIN JEN­VEY

THE op­por­tu­nity to de­velop new skills and work col­lab­o­ra­tively with other young peo­ple is again be­ing of­fered to Alpine Shire youth if they join their lo­cal FreeZA crew for 2019.

Un­der the guid­ance of coun­cil’s youth event and project sup­port of­fi­cer, Elisha Hazel­dine, the teams are re­spon­si­ble for or­gan­is­ing and run­ning sev­eral events for youth in their town and the shire.

Alpine Shire Coun­cil de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for youth and com­mu­ni­ties, Jenny Corser, said it was an ex­cel­lent way for young peo­ple aged 12-25 to get in­volved in the com­mu­nity and vol­un­teer out­side of school.

“It’s some­thing that em­ploy­ers, uni­ver­si­ties and schol­ar­ship granters will look at and take no­tice of,” she said.

“Our young peo­ple come away hav­ing had some amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences work­ing along­side Elisha go­ing through ev­ery stage of plan­ning and run­ning an event.

“They also gain ex­peri- ence with pub­lic speak­ing and have the chance to take up spe­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties like judg­ing at youth awards, par­tic­i­pat­ing in work­shops and train­ing and rep­re­sent­ing young peo­ple at events, in­clud­ing An­zac Day and Re­mem­brance Day.”

The three FreeZA crews, which will be based in Bright, Myrtle­ford and Mt Beauty have re­placed the role of the Alpine Shire’s Youth Coun­cil.

Last year the shire’s Youth Awards were or­gan­ised by the young peo­ple in Mt Beauty who also planned ac­tiv­i­ties for the Mt Beauty Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and a skatepark event in the town.

In 2019 the lo­cal youth awards will be held in Bright which will also host a Bat­tle of the Bands event midyear while the Colour Fun Run will move from the Up­per Ovens Val­ley to Myrtle­ford where they’ll also be a skatepark event.

“We try and move our key events around each year and work re­ally hard to make the events a re­flec­tion of the in­di­vid­ual crew and not a re­flec­tion of what Elisha or I want,” Ms Corser said.

“Last year we only had a small team in Bright but we need a de­cent crew for next year with the two big events in the Youth Awards and Push Start Bat­tle of the Bands.

“We’re now do­ing a reg­u­lar free movie night in Myrtle­ford and Mt Beauty just to even out those op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple and al­ways try­ing to do mu­sic events as well.

“With youth coun­cil dis­solv­ing a cou­ple of years ago we see the FreeZA crews as a bet­ter way to en­gage with young peo­ple and more young peo­ple.

“Pre­vi­ously you would have six to eight peo­ple on youth coun­cil and this way we get 20-30 young peo­ple in­volved in or­gan­is­ing our events.

“It feels like a lot more young peo­ple get the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved, some­times they might only come on for one event, but most will stay for all three or four events in their area.”

For more in­for­ma­tion or to get in­volved young peo­ple can email [email protected] vic.gov.au or call 0419 915 319.

WORK­ING TO­GETHER: Myrtle­ford teenagers Chloe Breen, Erin Bourke, An­gel Lu­nardi, Louise Saric, Tom Scott, Aysha Wheeler, Han­nah Masin and Lucy An­der­son with sup­port of­fi­cer Elisha Hazel­dine (third right) have been in­volved with the town’s FreeZA team.

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