Opinion

New developments, ideas to help engage local youth

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

It’s school holidays, and we’re sure many parents have heard these words muttered — ‘‘there’s nothing to do’’ or ‘‘I’m bored’’ — at least once already.

Youth engagement can be a challenge, particularly in the colder months when the pool is closed and the river too cold for a dip. Even popular sporting endeavours have their limitations at this time of year.

But there seems to be a welcome renewed focus on creating spaces and opportunities for our young people.

There are a number of ongoing developments and some new ideas being explored that can only serve to enrich the minds and bodies of our young people.

The latest idea is for Deniliquin police to develop their own youth hub following an unsuccessful attempt to get an NSW Police Force Police Citizens Youth Club off the ground locally.

Rather than just accept this rejection, our local police have forged ahead and partnered with local service providers and youth organisations to come up with a workable concept that could sustain not only recreational needs, but would cater to youth education and instil a sense of community responsibility.

And this is just one way Deniliquin police are working to better engage with their community, with the youth program ‘Copper Punch’ also proving a success.

While the youth hub idea is still only in the concept phase at this stage, this community has shown time and time again that by working together we can achieve excellent results.

Thankfully for our local youth, they don’t have to wait for the police youth hub idea to get off the ground to find something to do.

A new youth space was opened at the End St office that South West Arts shares with other local organisations in December, and more recently we saw the formation of the Deniliquin Theatre Group which is an outlet for creative youngsters and adults alike.

And in coming months we’ll also see a splash park installed at the Deniliquin Swim Centre (see page 3) and an expansion in both space and potentially activities at the Deniliquin Sports Stadium with thanks to funding provided under the Edward River Council’s Stronger Communities major projects program.

Getting young people to engage in activities that don’t necessarily involve technology is a challenge, but offering new ideas and a sense of ownership connected to local projects is a start.