In a series of blog posts we will be reflecting on our new understandings of youth participation after The Good Childhood Conference, as well as some of the feedback we received from conference delegates. We will also report back on practical elements of our youth participation strategy.
Below are some of our initial reflections on the experience, specifically the usefulness of the youth consultations and social media in preparation for the conference.
In regards to youth participation at the conference, we aimed to actively include young people in the conversation about what sustains a good childhood and how we best support those who have not experienced a good childhood. (For more information on our approach, check out our Principles of Youth Participation on the Berry Street Childhood Institute website).
As you may remember, three youth consultants worked with us to engage in a broader consultation with young people about what would create a conference that was engaging and attractive to young people.
Over a two month period the youth consultants met with approximately 80 young people and gathered considerable feedback about what young people would or wouldn’t like.
Outcomes of the Youth Consultations:
- Received feedback about what young people would or wouldn’t like at a conference,
- Promoted the event in face-to-face sessions with young people,
- Provided three youth consultants with workplace training,
- Collected data to drive our youth-friendly activities,
- Provided motivation for the youth consultants to volunteer at the conference, displaying increased leadership qualities – they also brought their friends,
- Developed/improved relationships with community groups, schools, youth groups and clients of Berry Street,
- Provided a barometer of youth interest in the conference.
“The youth consultation process has been a positive but challenging experience for me. It put me out of my comfort zone and has helped me improve on my networking and organisation skills.” Laura, Youth Consultant
Promoting Youth Participation
During the youth consultations young people told us that they like to communicate via social media. In the lead up to the conference an 8 week social media strategy was planned in order to promote numerous speaker profiles, interesting topics and reminders about the conference on Twitter and Facebook. Information about youth scholarships offered was posted regularly.
To provide some idea, detailed below are the most popular (shared and/or ‘Liked’) Facebook posts on the Berry Street Childhood Institute page in the lead up to the conference:
789 – Muriel Bamblett August 2013
452 – Youth scholarships announced September 2013
419 – Conference post after day one October 2013
165 – Launch of the conference program August 2013
158 – Kaff-iene the street artist August 2013
Youth participation was also publicised on the conference website, here on the conference blog and in the program. Positive feedback was received about the information available.
Stay tuned for more reflections on youth participation in the coming weeks…