Youth Forum

Who should attend:
The youth forum is focused on youth engagement. The aim is to have a diverse representation of young people aged 12-24 years with representatives from all over Australia, with a diverse range of cultural, socio-economic and linguistic backgrounds to be a voice for young people within their communities.

Australia’s population of youth is diverse. Researchers and organisations are challenged when attempting to reach young people from the vast range of geographical locations around Australia. To obtain input that reflects the needs of young Australians, it is essential to reach young people from all socioeconomic, cultural, linguistic and differently abled backgrounds. The Australian Association for Adolescent Health and the Conference organising committee are reaching out to organisations and community groups to request that they consider sponsoring young people from their communities to attend the conference and youth forum to give themselves and their communities a voice.

What does it involve:
The Centre of Research Excellence in Adolescence Health have created a youth engagement declaration with young people. This is a living document with values and principles on how to meaningfully engage with a diverse range of young people in relation to all aspects of health and wellbeing. The aim is for it to be able to be used by organisations as a framework for engaging youth. The team from the Centre for Research Excellence will be conducting a workshop in the forum to get feedback and ideas from the young people on the framework. The hosts will also be conducting other activities around youth engagement and advocacy.

Young people themselves are the only ones who can tell us what an activity or policy looks and feels like to them when it has been put into place. Engaging youth to be in involved in and giving feedback on practices and policies that are being developed to directly impact on them is crucial to effectively advocate for young people.

Researchers, policy makers and organisations need to look for, include and listen to young people when developing programs that are designed to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the adolescent population. Whilst researchers are able to access data that identifies areas of need or risk in this population, when designing programs to create change and impact on the well-being of youth, it is essential that the programs are what young people want and are willing to engage with and utilise.

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