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Youth Week 2018: Getting connected with Generation Z

Published on 12 April 2018
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  • Children and young people
Youth-week.jpg Maroondah Youth Wellbeing Advocates Rose, Eliza and David are creating positive opportunities for young people across the city.

While the rest of the world has been talking about Millenials, the next generation of thinkers, doers and change-makers is coming of age.

Generation Z (those born between 1995 and the mid-2000s) are the new kids on the block and are unlike any generation that came before them.

As young people across Maroondah gear up for Youth Week (April 13-22), we look to this next generation to find out what matters most to them and learn what it’s like growing up in today’s world.

Meeting some of our young people

Lana, 16, says that rather than focusing on the positive impact young people are making, there is an unbalanced negative portrayal of today’s youth by some media.

“I feel the media portrays us negatively and you don’t feel good about yourself when you read these things,” Lana says.

“So to have it (youth) celebrated and embraced is powerful and empowering, because we are the future.”

Since becoming a volunteer with Council’s Youth Services, she has improved her advocacy skills, something she says is important for any young person.

“We learn a lot through technology and social media and I think my generation is less naïve and more informed about what goes on in the world.

“Ignorance is not bliss. My advice to other young people is to always keep striving for knowledge and education so that we can leave this world better than we found it.”

For Eliza, 16, a social justice leader at Tintern Grammar, it’s about raising awareness and advocating for those who are less privileged.

“We meet regularly to talk about issues such as poverty and how it affects Australia and people globally. This is something that I feel passionate about. I’m all for helping people,” says Eliza.

“Our school is currently raising money for Indigenous Australians to improve education, and we are looking to set up a sister school partnership with a school in the Northern Territory. We’re hoping through this we can create pen pals and relationships with other students, find out what they enjoy about school and what improvements can be made to make education more equal.”

Young people vs technology

Eliza helps as a volunteer at many youth-based activities, and says it’s a great way of bringing together young people who might otherwise feel disengaged, and provide them with a sense of belonging.

She’s concerned that young people are spending too much time online, making them vulnerable to addictive, anti-social behaviours.

“I feel that today’s generation is way too absorbed in technology. It’s important that people take a break from their device, whether it’s their phone or iPad, and have a real connection. I know that with myself, if I put down my device I don’t feel as stressed,” says Eliza.

Unaware of a world without internet and mobile technology, Gen Z-ers have largely been dismissed as the ‘silent generation’ on account of the time they spend online, although some predict that these ‘digital natives’ may prove to be more imaginative than the rest of us might have thought.

For David, 17, the best part about being a young person today is living in a technologically progressive society.

“It’s an exciting time growing up with progressive technology because 100 years ago technology moved quite slowly. If you think about it, we’ve gone from the internet to Wi-Fi in a matter of two decades,” he says.

David connected with our Youth Services team two years ago through attending EV’s Youth Centre, a multi-purpose youth space where young people can meet, hang out, access laptops and free Wi-Fi and speak to a youth worker for support.

He says he enjoys promoting events in Maroondah that provide opportunities for young people and that encourage diversity, inclusiveness and participation.

So, what is Generation Z?

A generation addicted to social media, or a generation of free thinkers? Regardless, they are the brand influencers and the social media drivers, and are considered by some to be the most diverse and inclusive generation yet.

As David puts it: “Every generation gets a bad rap from older generations, that’s just the way it is.”

What is Youth Week?

Victorian Youth Week (formerly National Youth Week) is an annual week-long celebration of young people aged 12-25.

The week is an opportunity for young people to express their ideas and views, and act on issues that affect them. It is also a chance to have some fun and celebrate the positive contributions young people make. 

Youth Week celebrations in Maroondah

There are a variety of activities happening right across Maroondah to celebrate young people.

Maroondah Youth Awards

During Youth Week, which runs from Friday 13 to Sunday 22 April 2018, Maroondah Council will hold its annual Maroondah Youth Awards at Karralyka.

The awards recognise young people, aged 10-25, who have demonstrated leadership, personal growth, innovation or made an outstanding contribution to the community or arts.

The Maroondah Youth Awards 2018 will be presented at an evening ceremony to be held at Karralyka on 19 April.

Pure Talent

In a nod to the talented and creative young people across Maroondah, Wyreena Community Arts Centre is hosting an exhibition.

Pure Talent features the work of 2017 VCE students in Maroondah as part of creative subjects including Studio Arts, Visual Communication and Design and Textile Design.

Presented by Council, the exhibition promotes the achievements of young emerging artists in Maroondah.

The exhibition runs from Wednesday 28 March to Friday 27 April, at Wyreena Community Arts Centre, 13-23 Hull Road, Croydon.

SWAT Summit

Selected year 10 students from schools across Maroondah are being invited to attend the SWAT Summit on Thursday April 26.

The Summit is the first event in a comprehensive program aimed at strengthening the leadership skills of young people. Participants will begin exploring how they can use community leadership to help increase the wellbeing of young people.

Get involved in Youth Week

To get involved or find out more about Council’s Youth Week activities and events, contact the Youth Services team on 9294 5704 or visit their website.

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