by Julian Lehnert
Leaders of South Burnett’s rising community met with local business owners, organizations and politicians this month, welcoming members of the Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry to the first-ever meeting of the Youth Council on Tuesday July 12.
Members of KCCI and the South Burnett Youth Council gathered at Kingaroy Town Hall Dining Hall last week to mingle, share stories, network and plan future events.
The 18 Youth Council members aged 14 to 23, who come from all corners of the region, stood before the combined power of South Burnett’s business and industry scene to talk about their progress since the program’s inception. in April this year.
“The goal of this program is to increase the capacity of young people to engage in our community,” said Youth Council member Millicent Knudsen.
“As a member of the Youth Council, I have had the opportunity to work with my team to identify community issues and share opportunities for young people to engage.”
“We will do this by initiating projects to help engage our young people and also our community to create a safe and supportive environment,” added fellow youth adviser Hugh Wyvill.
“We will work alongside South Burnett Regional Council to help gather data on the needs of young people and to support our future leaders.
“The Youth Council not only helps the wider community, but also helps young people like me to develop better leadership qualities and become a better team member.”
KCCI Chairman Damien Martoo told the meeting that the Chamber has been following the progress of the Youth Council with great interest.
“When they [the Youth Council] decided they wanted to set up a meet and greet, we were really excited,” he said.
“Young people are our economic future and with the ever-changing world we live in, their voices need to be heard and their ideas implemented in the business sector to sustain our workforce.
“The voices of youth councils or chambers are becoming vitally important in how decisions will be made in the future, and these youth councils have the energy to create positive change in the leadership of regions. They will be part of the full representation of our community,” Mr. Martoo added.
As part of its speech to the group of KCCI members, the Youth Council presented a series of planned projects that will come into effect in the coming months, starting with PIG JAM, a battle of the bands style event that will be held as part of Kingaroy’s BaconFest next month.
“We are trying to bring together the great talent of young people in the region and create an event that speaks to young people,” explained Charlie Plant, member of the Youth Council.
“We hope this will create an engaging opportunity for young people to be in the community and enjoy the various events organized by the community, and also give businesses a chance to engage with young people in the community.
“Some of us also came up with the idea of having a cultural awareness program for Indigenous culture and LGBT issues as well as mental health issues, which are becoming a major issue in the community.
The group also plans to launch a “basic life skills” project with the aim of retaining young people in the community for years to come.
“A healthier, more vibrant community and engaged young people will also benefit all of you,” Charlie said.
“We are getting all this enthusiasm and knowledge from young people to bring them back into business and into the region,” KCCI Chairman Damien Martoo said of the Youth Council during the meeting.
“They can really advocate for young people on the Council and in business as well. Congratulations on raising your hand to be part of the Youth Council!
“This is not a job or position to be taken lightly – you are our future and you must shape us to make your future a better one. So make sure you do – we’ll listen.
“There are a lot of people in this room who can learn from your book.
“KCCI will hold quarterly meetings with the Youth Council to develop a collaborative approach to business, employment and training so that we can elevate and advocate these ideas for them to other leading bodies,” explained Mr. Martoo in response to questions about the Chamber’s future partnership. with the Youth Council.
“Our members thought it was great that these young men and women represented our community and [they] were very impressed with their leadership and cohesion as a group.
“So that the Youth Council already has a plan in place for projects and [to] already [be] acting on some of them shows experience beyond their years and those who attended the encounter were very impressed with it.