Over 23 and 24 February, eight Developing Artists from NAISDA Dance College participated in the Barang Regional Alliance Empower Youth Summit. The two-day event saw 120 Aboriginal young people visit Broken Bay Sport and Recreation Camp to discuss issues impacting Aboriginal youth on the Central Coast.
The event was an opportunity for Aboriginal young people to come together and learn from one another. The aspiring leaders participated in youth-led discussions about culture and identity, education and employment and health and wellbeing. They also had the opportunity to bond through recreational activities, cultural dancing and panel discussions.
NAISDA Diploma Developing Artist Chandler Connell shared some of his experiences from the Summit, which he saw as a chance for young people to learn from other young people.
“It was a good opportunity for Indigenous youth on the Central Coast to have a voice,” said Chandler. “Everything that was brought up during the discussions was put down in our exact words.
“For me, it was particularly important to share my voice about education as it’s a topic I’m really passionate about. I spent a lot of my time hanging around the education discussion group and listening to people.
“A lot of issues that were brought up are ones I used to raise when I was in high school. Now that I have moved to further education, it was interesting to look at them from a new perspective,” he continued.
For Chandler, a key highlight of the Summit was meeting and talking to some of Elders who also attended the event. “It was really good to spend time with the Elders and hear their experiences, especially their perspectives on some of the areas that we discussed,” added Chandler.
“We also had the opportunity to meet some wonderful Indigenous deaf people. We learnt some of their sign language and interestingly, there were a few cross-overs between our languages.”
NAISDA would like to thank Barang Regional Alliance for creating such an enriching and important experience for Indigenous youth on the Central Coast.