Positive messages on forum's agenda

TAMWORTH will welcome home the 2011 United Nation’s Australian youth representative when he arrives next week to host a special youth forum.

Benson Saulo – who grew up in Tamworth – will lead the forum alongside the current UN Australian representative Dan Ryan and Kelly Tallon from the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre at the Youthie on July 25.

Mr Saulo is 23 years old and currently lives in Melbourne. He was the first indigenous Australian to be appointed as a UN youth representative.

He is determined to promote positive messages about Aboriginal Australia and wants to encourage an inclusive society.

Tamworth Regional Council’s Youth Services co-ordinator Stephen Blanch said the event was open to anyone who would like to attend, but the focus was on young people aged between 12 and 25 years of age.

“Schools are our captive audience so we have invited all schools within the Tamworth Regional Council electorate to attend,” Mr Blanch said.

“But we are also aiming for a broader group than that and encourage others to participate.”

He said the topics explored would be youth relevant and one main topic affecting young people today – cyber safety – would be extensively covered by Ms Tallon.

“There is a big push now in getting information out on cyber laws,” Mr Blanch said.

“Another dynamic is trying to come up with creative ways of engaging with young people particularly in terms of decision making.

“This is where we need to take advantage of social media and get our heads around it.”

The morning sessions will run from 9.30am to noon and will focus on leadership, engagement and participation. It will be led by Mr Saulo and Mr Ryan.

The afternoon session will focus on a New Voices project and will be presented by Ms Tallon.