Youth & Education
Kerang, 1 August


Youth aren’t our future – they’re here now!!

Youth inspired sessions exploring some amazing stories of dynamic youth, some of the challenges they face, and education in rural communities were covered recently in Kerang at the 10th gathering of the 2016 Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program (LMCLP).

Several Gannawarra youth councillors shared their experiences of their role in Council: “We are equal,” said one.  The Gannawarra youth council has been running for 7 years providing a young voice and opinions for the Gannawarra council.  The recent upgrade of the Kerang skate park which was instigated by the Gannawarra youth council demonstrates the influence of this group.  “Youth aren’t our future – they’re here now!” said another member of this panel.

As with any business, community group or government, leadership is vital for their health and direction.  This is the same for our schools.  Cohuna Consolidated Primary School principal, Daniel Nemtsas shared some lessons he has learnt on his leadership journey.  His insights included:  ‘I am only as strong as my team’; ‘People will see what you do, not what you say’; and ‘the job you have is the one you do.’

Jess Orr from Youth Affairs Victoria also presented to the group of our region’s community leaders, sharing that transport and connectivity were the biggest concerns of the young people that she speaks to and represents.  Youth Affairs is the peak body and leading policy advocate on young people’s issues in Victoria, and Jess is based in Swan Hill.

Small communities are great, but for some youth, they feel they just don’t fit in.  A young woman shared her experience of leaving home at 16 and struggled until she linked into a program called Flexible Learning Options (FLO).  This program provided her with mentoring, support and opportunities to gain valuable life skills like budgeting, which turned her life around.

Participants were well looked after by the Rotary Club of Kerang and the day was held at their meeting rooms.  The day started with a smoking ceremony and welcome to country by Mallee elder Hack.  Gannawarra Shire Mayor Lorraine Learmonth extended her welcome to all participants and shared a number of exiting things happening in the Shire including the construction of the Koondrook Wharf.