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Superheroes descend on Chch for youth conference

Superheroes to descend on Christchurch for youth conference

Involving young people in their community will be the focus, when Christchurch hosts the 2008 Youth in Local Government Conference in early October.

The theme of the conference, which coincides with Youth Day on Monday 6 October, is “Transforming the Future,” with attendees invited to come as their favourite Superhero.

Christchurch City Council Community Support Unit Manager Catherine McDonald says already more than 150 young people, mayors, councillors and council staff who work with youth have registered for the conference.

“This is a great opportunity for all these people to get together, hear young peoples’ views and discuss how they can be incorporated into local government policy.

“We’d love to see more registrations – the more the merrier,” Mrs McDonald says.

Topics covered during the two-day conference, on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 October, include growing active citizens, youth employment and youth participation.

This year’s conference has attracted some high profile keynote speakers, including Melissa Crockett, co-owner of Potiki Adventures, an innovative Auckland-based Maori tourism company showcasing culture, landscapes and art from a contemporary Maori perspective.

The company also provides employment and mentoring for young Maori, and Ms Crockett and business partner Bianca Ranson have been the recipients of Maori business and women in business awards.

Another keynote speaker, Kehinde Bah, is a Toronto-based youth advocate and 2004 winner of the Canadian Urban Leadership Award.

Co-founder of the innovative hip-hop youth development programme, The Remix Project, for many years Mr Bah has focussed on promoting an equitable playing field for marginalised young people.

The biennial conference provides an opportunity for people working in local government and interested in developing stronger links with young people to meet, discuss issues within their communities and share ideas.

“Almost every local government interacts with the young people in its community in some way, through youth councils, young elected members, or youth lobby groups,” Mrs McDonald says.

Several awards will be presented at the conference:
• The Aspiration Kid’s Active Citizens Award for the best example of how youth councils, staff or young people have engaged youth in local government issues and enabled them to influence change.
• Collaborationista Award for Partnership Work recognises youth councils, agencies or departments which have worked together to take action on a local government issue or problem.
• LGA (Local Government Act) Dude’s Employment Award for the most innovative youth employment project.
• Long Term Council Community Plan Girl’s Cool Small Project Award for a project (under $2500) designed and implemented by local government, young people or a youth council.
• Bylaw Bloke’s Best Big Project Award for a project (over $2500) designed and implemented by local government, young people or a youth council.
• Captain Chaos Clanger Award for good ideas that bombed.
• The Supreme Award for the overall winning project.

Award entries closed in late August but registrations for the conference are open until it begins. To register or find out more about the programme, check out http://www.conferenceteam.co.nz/yilg2008/. For other information contact Catherine McDonald on 03 941 8879 or catherine.mcdonald[at]ccc.govt.nz.

The conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor on Cashel Street and is supported by the Canterbury Development Corporation, Ministry of Youth Development, Mayors Taskforce for Jobs and the Christchurch City Council.

ENDS

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