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Published on 12 May 2023

Statewide summit for young changemakers

Young people who want to lead change in their communities are invited to register for a free statewide summit to be held later this month.

The Community Changemakers Summit is open to young people aged 12 to 25 years and will be held in Adelaide on Saturday 27 May.

The summit aims to connect young people with other trailblazers and build their ability to advocate for issues and influence decision-making.

Led by the City of Onkaparinga, the summit has been co-designed with young people from across South Australia and with partners including the the Youth Affairs Council of SA, Ripple and the Local Government Youth Development Network.  

“This is a summit for all young people, wherever they come from and whatever their passion,” said Joshua Stokes, Youth Coordinator at the City of Onkaparinga.

“We are keen to have young people register from across the state who are active in a variety of community or professional areas.”

The summit will investigate three key themes of government and democracy, influencing and leading, and action and sustainability. It will include keynote topics focussing on self-care and preventing exhaustion, important issues for young leaders.

The day-long program will open with a Welcome to Country from Isaac Hannam followed by a Q&A panel based on the summit theme ‘Young Voices, Big Impact’. Author and performance poet Bior Aguer and Councillor Lazaras Panayiotou from the City of Port Adelaide Enfield will be two of three guests in the hot seat.

The program also includes keynote speakers, workshops and a mock deputation.

“All our keynote speakers are young people who are expert leaders in their fields, an approach that has been requested by our steering group comprising 18- to 25-year-olds across the state,” said Joshua.

“Bior Aguer has just finished a speaking and performance tour interstate and Lazaras Panayiotou has completed an Honours thesis on the short, medium and long-term benefits of providing young people with avenues for meaningful political participation in local government.”

Inspiring and practical workshops will be led by Amber Brock-Fabel and Jena Jaensch. Amber, climate activist and founder of the SA Youth Forum, will share her experiences of leading council deputations and hosting meetings with decision-makers across the state. Jena, an editorial coach at Six Degrees of Punctuation, will demonstrate how teaching members of under-represented communities to write about their expertise and experiences can amplify their voices.

In the mock deputation, participants will meet with their local elected members to build practical advocacy skills.

The summit is part of the Shaping Local Civic Youth Leaders project led by the City of Onkaparinga and funded by the Local Government Association of SA through the Local Government Research and Development Scheme.

The project aims to educate and inform young people about the role of local government and the opportunities available to young people – including ways they can ensure their needs are prioritised by decision-makers.

The Community Changemakers Summit is the first part of the project.

Following the summit, digital storytelling workshops called ‘Love the Journey’ will be delivered across the state. ‘Love the Journey’ will showcase the experiences young people have with local government programs and services through video, photography and podcast. Young people will attend skills-development workshops in these three mediums and learn how to harness the power of creative storytelling.

The Community Changemakers Summit will be held at the SAHMRI building on North Terrace in Adelaide from 9am to 3.30pm on Saturday 27 May.

For more information, contact joshua.stokes@onkaparinga.sa.gov.au.

To register, visit Community Changemakers Summit. Places are strictly limited, so register early or encourage a young person you know to put their name forward.