Maroondah Youth Voice is a publication produced by secondary school students to provide a voice for Maroondah’s youth. This afternoon provided an opportunity to celebrate the first edition of Maroondah Youth Voice.
The first edition involved students from Ringwood Secondary College, Maroondah Secondary College and Croydon Secondary College, with plans to encourage further schools to contribute in future editions. The publication includes a mixture of health information, creative writing, poetry, sport and community information.
As part of the first edition I was encouraged to write about my experiences as Maroondah’s youngest councillor and the challenges I have faced:
Pick the first word you think of when describing Ringwood. Chances are one of the words you didn’t choose was ‘vibrant’. Yet ‘vibrant’ is exactly what we are trying to achieve with our vision for Ringwood.
So what exactly is vibrant? Therein lies the problem. Like most buzzwords, ‘vibrant’ means different things to different people and while we have a general understanding of what most people would like to see, there hasn’t been much youth input.
As Maroondah’s youngest councillor (despite the fact that I’m now closer to 30 than to 20), I’m often described as the youth voice for council but the reality is there are people younger than me that also must be heard.
While government and councils should be actively trying to seek youth opinions, young people should also make sure that we cannot be ignored. Unfortunately for younger people it can be challenging at times to make sure that people do listen. Even when I was in my early 20s many people were intent on ignoring me and the issues, such as public transport, that I was concerned about. Of course being on council has meant that it is harder for these same people to ignore what I say!
Even though it may be easy to give up, as youth we need to break down those walls and make sure that people do listen. There are also many places and plenty of community groups, that would welcome younger people.
It is great to see Youth Voice reach its first edition, I hope that many more follow and that we can ensure that younger people will be heard.
Copies of Maroondah Youth Voice are available from EV’s Youth Centre and from the Secondary Schools that were involved. The next edition of Maroondah Youth Voice will be published in late November.