Bass Coast,

Bass Coast Youth Excel At Summit


Ten young people from Bass Coast joined over 60 young people from across Gippsland for the 2015 Youth Summit held at Federation University in Churchill recently.

Bass Coast Shire Council supported the event along with its five fellow Gippsland councils, with Bass Coast the largest represented at the event.

During the three day Summit, participants took part in workshops on town planning, community engagement, and brainstorming issues such as gambling, drugs and alcohol, housing and transport.

Newhaven College student, Connor Epifano, said he especially enjoyed the town planning activity.

“We had a chance to work with other Summit participants to design our ‘dream town’ with the help of town and community planners,” Connor said.

“I might actually consider a career in town planning after taking part in the workshop.”

Fellow Newhaven College students,Saxon Taylor Le Page and Lachlan Gardner, and Wonthaggi Secondary College student Marcus Finne-Larsen, said the community engagement and brainstorming sessions left them with a new found passion for helping young people be more engaged in local issues.

“I came away from the Summit with a new appreciation for my community and a passion to be involved in exploring how young people can have a ‘voice’ in their community,” Saxon said.

The participants also attended a Gala Dinner as part of the Summit, which was also attended by Local Government senior executives, mayors and politicians, including Harriet Shing MP and Melina Bath MP.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, attended the dinner and said it was a fantastic opportunity to meet with Bass Coast’s youth representatives.

“Wonthaggi Secondary College students, Roy Trumble and Fergus McKittrick, who is also one of our 2015 Young Leaders, were very impressive, confident and funny as MCs of the Gala Dinner,” Cr Brown said.

“Saxon also blew away all of us with her impromptu vocal performance with the guest performer on the night.”

Cr Brown said Wonthaggi Secondary College students, Jasmine Chambers and Maddy Murray, who is also a 2015 Young Leader, were also part of the winning table for a competition to build a straw structure, along with Ms Shing and Council’s General Manager Healthy Communities, David Elder.

“They affectionately named their structure the Bass Coast Education Precinct,” Cr Brown said.

“Ms Shing also invited the students to visit her at Parliament House, speaking about women and leadership, and offering her support to young women.

“Jasmine and Maddy have said they will take her up on the offer, with Maddy in particular keen to connect with Harriet again as she is interested in becoming a human rights lawyer.”

The Summit was a great opportunity for Bass Coast Youth Action Plan (YAP) Committee Members, Christine Balks and Matise Savannah.

“They are helping to guide and steer the YAP and ensure an authentic youth ‘voice’ is present throughout the consultation,” Cr Brown said.

“The Summit provided insights, information and networks, which they can bring into the work they are doing with the YAP Pak.”