Young people aged 14 to 19 from Strathbogie Shire had the opportunity to attend the Youth Politics Camp.
This year, 29 young people from Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Strathbogie and Towong shires attended the camp in Harrietville for three days at the beginning of the school holidays.
Coinciding with Victorian Youth Week, the camp focused on the environment — a hot topic of conversation particularly among young people.
A partnership between Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Strathbogie and Towong shires, this camp is the only one of its kind in Victoria and was a YACVic Rural Youth Award finalist in 2018.
Strathbogie Shire Council’s community development officer Inga Hamilton was one of the organisers of the camp and said she had seen the long term benefits it provided for young people first hand.
‘‘This year in particular we saw young people who were really passionate about rural communities and the environment and the wealth of knowledge amongst the young people involved was incredible,’’ Ms Hamilton explained.
The camp was the last official engagement for Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan who had been attending for the past five years to share her knowledge and experience in politics.
It provided an insight into politics not just at a federal level, but also locally, with former Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O’Connor and Councillor Amanda Cohn from Albury also among those who were facilitating workshops.
A focus on leadership skills in areas beyond politics ensured a well-rounded camp and the interactive workshops gave participants a chance for their voices to be heard.
The next step for the Youth Politics Camp is sending a group of six participants to YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament 2019. The team is submitting three bills for debate which include a focus on agricultural practices, education and single use plastic bags.