Yarriambiack Youth Summit to feature guest speakers, music

HUNDREDS of students from across the Wimmera and Mallee will share ideas about youth issues at a summit in Warracknabeal on Friday.

The second Yarriambiack Youth Summit gives students access to guest speakers, entertainment and information about how to navigate challenges including online safety, bullying, and alcohol and drugs.

Yarriambiack Youth Action Council and Yarriambiack Shire Council’s ‘Ramp It Rage It Stage It’ FReeZA committee will run the event.

Youth council member Tom McGrath said more than 300 students would attend the event in Warracknabeal Town Hall.

“The summit is about gathering information about how to keep people engaged and socialising in our community,” he said.

“It’s also about raising awareness of certain issues, such as engaging online.

“There was some really positive feedback from the first summit, particularly around how it addressed young people’s needs not only at school and work, but socially as well.

“From that the council was able to narrow down the types of things young people wanted and target events specific to that.”

Mr McGrath said guest speakers would include Horsham domestic violence survivor Simone O’Brien, former Queensland Police detective Brett Lee – who will speak about online safety and cyber-bullying – and Melbourne youth support and advocacy expert Horace Wansbrough.

Former Queensland Police detective Brett Lee talks about cyber-bullying.

Mr Wansbrough will discuss alcohol, cannabis and ice issues.

World champion wheelchair basketballer Jannik Blair of Horsham will also address students. 

Warracknabeal band Runk will open and close the event.

Mr McGrath said spot prizes would be awarded on the day, and students would also be asked to complete a survey about ideas for future events.

He encouraged anyone with an interest in youth issues to consider joining the council.

“We have about nine members, and we want a good mix of gender and people of different ages,” he said.

“We are looking for more women particularly to put their hands up, to get a more balanced group.

“We target people from ages 12 to 25.

“The council has really good funding support. People aren't aware that if they want to have a horse riding trail event every second weekend for example, there's no reason why we can't help make that happen, if that's what people want.”

The summit will run from 10am to 2pm and is free.

Mr McGrath encouraged people to also support the Murtoa Battle of the Bands, which will run on Friday night.