PATH TO 2027: The solution for Clarence Valley's bored youth
A GROUP of Clarence Valley youth has taken party planning to the next level.
Already this year Clarence Youth Action (CYA) has hosted two free music festivals, free pizza and movie nights, a Star Wars-themed ten pin bowling night, a touch football tournament, ice cream afternoons, plus a range of other events, all targeting young people across the Clarence.
The youth-inspired events are part of CYA's plan to host one major event for young people every month during 2018, plus a bunch of smaller weekly events.
CYA member Hanna Craig, 20, was one of the volunteers working hard to give Clarence youth things to do.
Hanna grew up in Grafton, where she said there wasn't a lot for young people to do because of the lack of safe spaces for them to hang out. But through CYA, Hanna hoped to change that.
"We are providing a voice for the youth and pushing for changes within the Clarence Valley,” she said.
"Having the pop-up hubs in South Grafton and Yamba has been great because we can provide a safe place for young people to go and be social.”
The hubs are operated by the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House (NSOA).
CYA has been able to follow through on its 12-month program of youth activities thanks to a $42,700 grant from the NSW Government's Youth Opportunities Program.
"So far the events have been going really well and we're getting really good numbers,” she said.
But the fun doesn't stop there. CYA has big plans for the second half of the year, kicking off with a Battle of the Bands on June 23.
The battle will bring young musicians from across the Clarence together to showcase their talents and encourage creativity. It will also provide a safe environment for young people to see live music.
Other plans include a series of coffee barista workshops in Maclean and Grafton to provide youth with training that could help them find employment.
Clarence Valley Council youth officer Allira Newton said the key to the success of the CYA events was having young people in the driving seat, supported by CVC and NSOA.
"We walk alongside them, mentor them and provide support when they need it, but the youth are driving these events,” Ms Newton said.
"They are all young people, and it's a really big thing that they are doing, organising all of these events.”
CYA is committed to providing opportunities for youth right across the Clarence, and plans to target the Lower Clarence in the second half of the year. To stay up to date with CYA events, follow them on Facebook and Instagram at @ClarenceYouthAction
Path to 2027 is a weekly column supplied by Clarence Valley Council which looks at planning in the region.