An energetic and enthusiastic team of our local youth have been busy learning about sustainability issues and event management over recent months. Krysten Banks from Homebase Youth Service and her team members have organised a sustainability expo that will run in conjunction with one the other major events to coincide with Youth Week this year – the King of the Krater – on April 6. The expo is appropriately named ‘Our World Our Future … Starts With Me’.
What is the age range of your group’s members?
Krysten 18 years to 21 years.
Describe how your group first came together to work on your sustainability project …
Krysten Homebase Youth Service was successful with a Youth Development and Support Program submission (to deliver a youth-focused sustainability expo during Youth Week) with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. The project was promoted via local media and through Homebase’s network and as a result, a team of 12 participants were recruited. Most of the team’s members were sourced through Forster’s BreakThru Employment and came to the project with varying interest and knowledge levels regarding sustainability.
Why do you feel sustainability is such an important issue?
April We can’t move on to another planet, so learning to look after the earth and all its creatures (including humans) is important.
Andrew This is our world, and we only have one chance to keep it the way it is … we also want to improve the way things are.
Amelia I love the area, because it is so peaceful … won’t be here for my children to enjoy if we keep living unsustainably.
Jodie I want to feel happy and secure.
Ivy Sustainability is about living well now in a way that future generations can also live well; we care about this happening.
Ionela I want to keep our environment as natural as possible … breathe clean air … so my children can see it and have a healthy life.
Nathan So others can have good times and make good memories like me.
What activities/programs have you been out and about experiencing in the local community to help you learn about sustainable living?
Krysten The team have been meeting one day a week for the past five months, and during this time have attended and evaluated other expos, participated in workshops to learn about a range of topics including waste management, propagation, organic gardening, efficient energy use and traditional uses of plants and have researched both local and global sustainability issues.
The team have built a garden at The Green that displays companion planting and organic gardening and have also participated in workshops to assist in the planning and organising of a community event.
Tell us about ‘Our World Our Future … Starts With Me’. When and where will you be holding this expo?
Krysten The expo is being run in conjunction with the King of the Krater event being held at Tuncurry Skate Park on Saturday 6 April between 10am and 2pm.
What activities do you have planned for the day?
Krysten The team have organised practical workshops in propagating edible plants, waste to wealth (how to make money from ‘waste’), love food hate waste (making nutritious food from ‘leftovers’), and the Green Bikes crew will be on site for bike repairs and maintenance.
The team have also created poetry and informational and photographic displays of what they value most in their community, traditional uses of local plants, upcycled fashion and the waste hierarchy. The team has invited community service representatives to participate (e.g. Great Lakes Great Health, Youth Mental Health, Great Lakes Council’s Water Catchment Trailer, JR Richards, Great Lakes Climate Action Group, Second Bites, Money for Phones, The Green, Forster Neighbourhood Centre) for information sharing purposes.
Additionally, the team has propagated over 200 edible plants (using newspaper to make plant pots) that they will give away on the day. Visitors will also have the opportunity to create their own plants (to take and plant at home) using organic seed and the biodegradable cups that they sampled food from (reused from the love food hate waste workshop).
What do you see as being the aim of the event?
Krysten Promoting sustainability, caring for our natural systems and encouraging good living practices. The event provides an opportunity for young people to have a voice about their community, their world and their futures. It also provides local young people with the opportunity to be involved in a meaningful project where real skills and knowledge are developed and displayed.
This event is a culmination of the works and efforts of ten local young people who are committed to making better futures for themselves and for the generations that follow, so creating a forum for expression and raising the status of young people in our community are also aims of this event.
Why do you feel it’s important for our youth to get out there, have a go and put some effort and energy back into their local communities?
April Today’s young people aren’t enthusiastic about the future, but we can make a difference … we are the future, and our actions and dreams should be heard and taken into account.
We often hear negative stories about our local young people but in fact, there are lots of young people already making changes and putting effort and energy into community development – perhaps as a community we need to put more energy into and encouraging, valuing and promoting these efforts and providing youth opportunities.
This Youth Week event, run in conjunction with King of the Krater, showcases a depth of capacity, attention, care and creativity that will inspire all community members to envision and work towards a more sustainable future.
Where can people find out more information about the expo?
Contact Krysten at Homebase Youth Service on 6555 5622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
People involved with the project are: Krysten Banks, Project Coordinator, and Homebase Youth Service participants: Nathan Dillon, April Stewart, Ionela Cornhill, Joshua Quiring, Jodie Pearce, Morgan Rees, Ivy Lund-Eatock, Andrew Clarke, Jordan Harris, Amelia Allen, Maureen Cooper, Sarah Cooper (Transition Consultants), Breakthru Employment.
This article can be found in issue 74 of Manning-Great Lakes