NYW blog #6: Reflections & Thanks
Just like all good things, even NYW had to come to an end for another year.
It was probably the best last-minute decision of my life to apply to become the Young Member for Victoria. When I filled out the forms, I had no idea what was in store - not really.
An Amazing Opportunity
I was not prepared for the amazing opportunities I would be presented with. I was not prepared for the knowledge and skills I would learn. I was not prepared for the incredible young people I would meet. As I stop and reflect on NYW and everything that lead up to it... I’m not the person I was 12 months ago. How could I be? I’ve seen too much to ever be the same. My ideas and beliefs were both challenged and consolidated, and after everything I’ve been lucky enough to experience – I almost can’t remember what it was like to be me before it all.
Putting aside the opportunity to travel across the country to discuss marketing and participation with other young people; putting aside the fact I was repeatedly on TV for a few weeks; putting aside all of that, I can’t be the same because I’ve met some amazing young people who have inspired me with their passion, their talents, and things they are achieving every day.
I like to see the good in people - in everything really. So I’m paraphrasing John Lennon a little here when I say they can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m sure as hell not the only one. NYW showed me that. You guys showed me that.
See, I’ve always been the kind of person that gets excited (read ridiculously passionate and hyperactive) about stuff that I care about. And I care about lots of things. NYW and what it stands for now means more to me because I’ve seen what young people are capable of. It’s because of those young people that I know the future looks bright because they’ll be there to lead the way. Investing in young people and their potential is always worth celebrating.
Recognising the Value of Young Australians
As well as all the events and free stuff, NYW is our chance to recognise the value of all young Australians in our communities. To give young people a voice, to express ourselves and inspire others. To connect with people, and accept and appreciate diversity. To promote positive images of young people to those who doubt us. We’re part of the solution to problems they often hold us as responsible for.
As young Australians, we have the right to be involved in decisions that impact us. We are the experts on our own circumstances, and we need to challenge society to see us as an important resource that can make valuable contributions. By being involved, it ensures the design and delivery of programs and services will be effective and relevant.
So while may seem like a week-long series of events just for irrelevant fun, it’s so much more. NYW is about celebrating our ideas, opinions, talents, achievements - and our potential.
Nietzsche (an old German guy who liked to think a lot about life and write stuff down for people to ponder) said that young people are "...those who are all really nothing but who would like to be very important."
But what the hell does Nietzsche know?
We are important. Because here’s the thing: what we need to know and understand is that ensuring the future for the next generation is our responsibility. How do we want to be remembered? As the generation who believed the world owed us everything? The generation who had a wishbone instead of a backbone? The generation who wasn’t prepared to fight to leave the world a better place than when we found it?
The world doesn’t owe us anything. We owe the world. We owe it our time and our energy. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you.
So whatever you care about - social justice, the environment, music, politics, animals, family, business, art, sport and everything in-between - don’t let anybody tell you that it doesn’t matter, that you can’t, that you won’t make a difference.
Because it does.
And you do.
That is always going to be worth celebrating.
I’d like to thank everyone who supported me during my time as Young Member for Victoria. It was an honour and privilege to represent the amazing young people of Victoria, and I have faith in every single one of you that you’ll achieve everything you set out to do or be.
And anyone who gets in your way, or tries to tell you that you’ll never get there… turn around and try anyway, and prove them wrong. That’s half the fun, right?
A very special thank you to the people who made my experience of NYW what it was:
- Kate, Greg, the youthcentral crew and the rest of the Office for Youth for being more than just the people within the government that I liaise with. They've supported me in more ways than I can thank them for. They took a chance on me and they've shared their wealth of experience with generosity.
- The Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith MP
- Sarah Davensen & Jessica Jeffreys from the Office for Youth DEEWR
- The other young members from across Australia: Ross, Kenneth, Timisha, Anna, Casey, Eloise, Emma, Alice & Chris
- Leah and the crew at Haystac PR
- Channel [V]
- All the major sponsors of NYW2012
- My managers at Southern Directions Youth Services
- Lisa, Alana & Stacey for picking me up late from the airport (minus a huge banner that I was secretly hoping for) and putting up with my deliriousness
- Justice Crew, Israel Cruz & Elen Levon
- All of the NYW Ambassadors (especially Sally Fitzgibbons because I admire her immensely)
- Hayden, Ryan, Kade & Corey and the rest of MBPK
- Penny from Central Goldfields Shire Council
- The crew from the Maryborough FReeZA Committee
- Jade Mckenzie & Brody Whitfield
- Shannon from Mount Alexander Shire Council
- The Get Cereal crew at SYN Media
- Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development
- All the participants in the NYW Grant Assessment Workshops
- Anyone I forgot (apologies, they started playing the music to cut my acceptance speech short, and kicked me off stage)
And last but not least, my family & friends. The overwhelming support I received was beyond appreciated. I got numerous calls, Facebook messages, cute texts and my best friend even promised to record Channel [V] to capture my 10 seconds of fame.
Most of all, to my mum, dad & sister - thank you so much for tolerating my incessant ramblings (not that they were or are limited to my time as Young Member), late nights, early mornings, speech practices, outfit selecting, and... for always believing in me no matter what.
Thanks heaps to Stephanie from all of us at youthcentral and the Office for Youth for being a faboo rockn excellent Young Member. We wish her all the best in whatever she goes on to do.
Articles Written by Steph R
The content of these stories and articles are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of our roving reporters/editorial team members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Victorian Government. While every endeavour is made to ensure the currency, accuracy and authenticity of content, it can not be guaranteed. The Victorian Government does not accept any liabilities for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or others might incur as a result of the information or advice (or the use of it) on this website or in the articles. People using the site should undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.