'Be the Future, Be the Success’, was the theme to a youth forum held last month, hosted by young people for young people and supported by Gurriny.
Moirin Smith, Bernice Yeatman and Paul Bounghi along with youth program coordinators Tamar Patterson and Paul Neal have worked on the idea for the past six months or more.
“Every Monday we’ve been attending this meeting for the Youth Forum; and we’ve planned trips to movies and to Fitzroy Island,” Moirin, 17, said.
“We’ve been going around encouraging the youth to come along and to come to our programs and all that.”
Bernice, 23, said she was hopeful her peers would come out “with a positive attitude towards themselves and their future”.
“Our youth committee has been running now for about a year,” she said. “It’s important to get youths and kids involved in the community, it keeps them out of trouble so they can have a future. Hopefully they’ve come out of tonight with a bit of knowledge and understanding for them to be happy and succeed.”
MC for the event, Trevor Tim, said he was excited to be there.
“I gave a motivational talk to inspire the youth about their future and about the future of our mob and the future of the community of Yarrabah,” he said. “So I was very excited to be here delivering positivity and motivation, and very excited about the opportunity.”
The forum was an informative and fun-filled evening.
Gurriny CEO Sue Andrews urged youth to spend time building a vision of their desired future and then working towards making it a reality.
Discussion from young people themselves recognised that this would happen through forging interdependent relationships between themselves, nature (land and sea), and culture.
Darren Miller encouraged young people to recognise their immediate past and present elders and encouraged young people to build relationships with adults in the present who could mentor and help them.
Young people put forward ideas of what they wanted for the youth of Yarrabah which included: a youth (5–11pm) drop-in centre with someone employed there on Friday evenings; 18-year-olds being appointed to Boards; a youth forum convened where all organisations serving the youth of Yarrabah were present; and having careers counselling with clear career pathways outlined.
The serious business was followed by a paper plane making and flying competition and a skit by Katrina Connolly and Milton Mossman, which demonstrated how young people could encourage each other to have health checks.
Youth Wellbeing Officer Paul Neal, 32, said they wanted youth to tell them what they wanted.
“We don’t want to tell the youths what the youths want, we want them to tell us what they want,” he said.