The Nambucca Heads Youth Advisory Council of seven young people stand on a path beside the ocean at Nambucca Heads V-Wall smiling at camera and wearing black Becoming U branded hoodies

Credit: Leah Moore, The Moores Photographers

Nambucca’s Youth Advisory Council explore future pathways in Canberra

Nambucca Heads High School’s inaugural Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is hitting the road – and the skies – for a trip to Canberra from 19-22 September.

While there, these young leaders will see some of Australia’s most important policy, law, education, and cultural institutions, plus meet members of parliament and other young people facilitating change.

It’s a wonderful opportunity and a reward for the passionate and dedicated group of diverse Year 11 students who volunteer their time to meet monthly, complete independent research, and take action to make a difference in their school, community, and for all young people.

The Youth Advisory Council is one of the key programs for Becoming U as part of our Opportunity U project that removes barriers holding young people back and opens doors to new experiences and people.

The Canberra excursion will expose the YAC members to opportunities, pathways, and connections with like-minded groups. The goal is to support them to grow their aspirations and to think big and bold about their future, how they can create an impact, and the importance of their voice in influencing positive change.

Some places the YAC will visit include Parliament House, the Tent Embassy, Canberra University, the Australian Institute of Sport, the High Court of Australia, and Questacon. The students will be running Becoming U’s Instagram account for that week. To watch their experiences unfold, follow @becominguproject on Instagram.

The YAC members are excited about the trip after a few tough years and recent exams and welcome the chance to bond while away.

YAC member Lystan Scott says, “It will be a good getaway and good for the YAC. We’ll be able to find ourselves and enjoy time after going hard with exams. Seeing the university will be great because I may end up going there, and Parliament House – all the places we’re going have significant meaning.”

Jemma Wilson loves sport, so the Australian Institute of Sport is top of her list.

“I’m keen to go there, have a tour, and see what it’s all about. It will be really interesting, but I’m looking forward to everything and spending time with everyone. We’ll have ‘family’ dinners a few nights of the week and cook, which will be great.”

Kiara Smith can’t wait to “hang out with my friends, do fun things, travel around Canberra, and relax”.

“I don’t get involved in many things, and when the YAC opportunity came along [earlier this year], I thought, why not give it a chance, and it’s been really good. I’m so glad I gave it a chance.”

The Canberra excursion is fully funded by the Becoming U Project, with all travel, food, accommodation, and activities paid for.

The establishment of the Youth Advisory Council is the first of its kind for the school and was developed in partnership with Becoming U.

However, it is led wholly by young people. The YAC devised and agreed to a Code of Conduct, identified key areas of focus and priorities: health and well-being, career pathways, transport in Nambucca Valley, and developed core values, including respect, kindness, advocacy, and inclusivity.

Lystan shares why he joined the YAC:

“Growing up, I didn’t have it too easy, but I can change what happens in the future. By becoming a teacher, I will do everything I can to make everyone feel accepted and let them know they are important. The YAC will help me open doors to what I’m able to do, help my voice shine, and give me knowledge and friendships that can go a long way. The YAC will help us all blossom. There’s a lot of great things coming.”

With young leaders like the seven members of the Nambucca Valley Youth Advisory Council driving change, our community is in great hands.


Author: Simone Atallah



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