Our young people will run the world some day – and it’s our job to prepare them, and help them grow into the leaders we know they can be.
We want our young people to feel a sense of ownership, and have the capacity to make meaningful, positive change in their own neighbourhood. So, with the assistance received from Penrith City Council Magnetic Places funding, our Community Development Worker in Kingswood Park, Naomi, developed a project to do just that – to select and train a Youth Committee, and give them the opportunity to work on community based projects that will enhance their enjoyment and the enjoyment of the community within Kingswood Park.
To select our Youth Committee, we held a Poster competition at Kingswood Park Public School, to design a poster that shows us why “Kingswood Park Rocks”. Thirteen winners were chosen from years 3 – 6, and the newly formed Youth Committee were presented with their certificates at a school presentation ceremony.
The first job for our Committee members was to attend a Leadership training day, facilitated by The Frank Team. This provided our Committee with skills, knowledge and motivation to get on with it!
Now, each month, the Youth Committee meet to plan and begin work on the first arts based project for the community – a Pop Up Nature Garden with a tile mural surrounding it.
Other opportunities are also available for the Committee, such as designing, organising and facilitating an activity at the North Penrith Community Centre Family Fun Day each month. They will also be able to attend workshops to develop their skills.
While it can be challenging to ensure that all members of our Youth Committee are participating, and getting as much out of it as they can, we can see that the benefits are huge – the increase in self-esteem, leadership abilities, goal setting, taking pride in their community, and caring for it as a result.
When asked what they should talk about as a committee, one Committee member (aged 9) stated:
“I think we should speak about giving children a say in what happens in their community, as strong kids mean we have strong leaders for our country when they grow up.”
I am really looking forward to seeing the Pop Up Nature Garden that our young people create – but even more, I’m looking forward to seeing the young people themselves grow and develop into leaders in their communities.