The New Face of Youth Culture


Taskforce Coordinator Beth Laurenson and Youth Governor Geethe Geeganage represent the Youth Parliament at a local Youth Forum.
Photo courtesy of Youth Parliament

The image of youth is changing and YMCA Youth Parliament is proud to lend a hand to the new face of youth culture.

The NSW Youth Parliament is helping transform a generation with their political ambitions.

The Youth Parliament encourages youths to develop leadership and decision-making skills.

The program puts teenagers in a seat of power to debate their ideas and help ‘pass’ legislation.

Reaching its 12th year, the Parliament finally is gaining more and more publicity.

“It’s taken this long to get the attention of policy-makers, MPs, and media groups to show them what we’ve been doing,” said Beth Laurenson, 21, Task Coordinator for the Youth Parliament.

Laurenson believes the Parliament is a stepping stone for changing the stereotype of youth.

“It’s getting it out there that young people are interested and want to be involved,” she said.

The Youth Parliament is looking to increase its opportunities of showcasing young people.


Beth Laurenson and Geethe Geeganage encourage high school students to try their hand at democracy.
Photo courtesy of Youth Parliament

In the 2011 Youth Parliament sitting, a group of ten youths succeeded in helping reform the Emergency Services legislation.

The Youth Parliament is helping produce new leaders with the skills they need to succeed.

“We’ve had quite a lot of past participants go on and are now staffed in different MPs offices,” she said.

“I think it brings fresh ideas to what’s going on in those offices.”

Laurenson is certain there definitely some future Prime Ministers in the Youth Parliament.

“They probably need a little more life experience before they can get the top job though,” she joked.

Along with the Parliament, Laurenson says student representatives are great for leadership skills.

“Leadership starts small,” said Kieran O’Connor, 20, of the University of Wollongong’s student council.

O’Connor believes there is too much of a stereotype about the younger generation.

“People tend to trivialize the concerns of youth and […] if you paid enough attention, you’ll realise some of them are quite well-read, educated arguments,” he said.

The elected UOW General Representative is realistic about youth involvement.

“It’s a two way street,” he said.

“The youth have to get involved. But someone has to be listening.”

Beth Laurenson recently addressed local teenagers at the Campbelltown Youth Forum, hoping to engage new interest in youth democracy.

Teenagers aged 15 to 18 interested in becoming part of the Youth Parliament can apply for events in 2013.

The Youth Parliament runs two annual Training and Residential camps.

The Training camp will run from April 19th to 21st while the Residential camp will run from June 30th until July 6th.

Listen to Member of the Legislative Council, the Honorary Sophie Cotsis, speak about her thoughts on the Youth Parliament and its participants.

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About nhl961

I’m Nicole Heather Langridge, a, 18 year old quirky and eager new University of Wollongong student. I’m studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing) and Bachelor of Journalism. I hope to explore and advance on my creative writing skills over the next few years of this course as well as learn how to write from a Journalist perspective, which I am finding is very different. I can’t see myself doing anything career wise that isn’t writing orientated so I am hoping to expand my creativity and skills to different branches and styles of writing. The blog “Arts in the Community” will focus on just that! What I mean by this is that I hope to blog about different artistic examples in my local and surrounding communities. I think the attitude and attention paid to the arts in the community is a little lower than what it deserves and is often past over as amateur. I hope that with my blog I can explore and discover the underside to this unique community the diverse activities that occur from productions to exhibitions to the opinions of those directly involved in these areas. My new stories will focus on upcoming artistic events that are happening in the surrounding areas such as annual Playwriting Festivals, new theatre productions, and upcoming exhibitions. Accompanying these stories will be profiles on those directly involved in these events being uncovered such as performers or directors, focusing on their experiences in the arts and their opinions of it on contemporary society.

Posted on October 22, 2012, in News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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