REAL AUSTRALIA

Young farmers bring help, hope to UNICEF Australia NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM executive editor James Joyce.

From top left going clockwise: Six faces of the future are Joanna Treasure, Emily Newton, Kate Currans, Hamish Sanderson, Elly Byriell and Patrick Blomfield.

From top left going clockwise: Six faces of the future are Joanna Treasure, Emily Newton, Kate Currans, Hamish Sanderson, Elly Byriell and Patrick Blomfield.

They are the faces of hope in the face of adversity - young Australians living on the land who have stepped forward to lead the next generation's thinking on how farmers and rural communities will not only survive the drought but thrive into the future.

Joanna Treasure is one of the 11 young people on the steering committee for the upcoming UNICEF Australia NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought.

Joanna Treasure is one the 11 young people on the steering committee for UNICEF Australia's first NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought, which will be held next month.

Joanna Treasure is one the 11 young people on the steering committee for UNICEF Australia's first NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought, which will be held next month.

"I want to make sure kids growing up in rural areas are still encouraged to be involved in agriculture, despite the hardships they're experiencing," the 21-year-old told the Cowra Guardian.

"In order to retain its vitality now and into the future, agriculture needs innovative country kids who possess the nous to adapt to a changing world and environment."

The young members of the steering committee are helping to shape the summit program. They will also spend the next few weeks selecting the 100 or so participants from applications received from across drought-ravaged NSW.

(BTW - Applications to attend the summit have been extended and now close at midnight tonight. Click here for more information.)

YOUNG LEADER: Kate Currans, at 15, is the youngest member of the summit steering committee.

YOUNG LEADER: Kate Currans, at 15, is the youngest member of the summit steering committee.

Kate Currans, at 15, is the youngest member of the committee. She grew up on a farm between Nyngan and Cobar and told the Nyngan Observer that most of her life had been spent coping with drought.

"I specifically remember, when there was any ewe with twins, it was my role to stop the crows from picking the eyes out of the first lamb, while mum would help pull the second stuck lamb," Kate said.

"Just small experiences like this expose you to death and the cruelty that animals can inflict on one another for survival."

LIVING WITH DROUGHT: Emily Newton, 21, has seen the impact of drought first-hand after growing up in Walgett.

LIVING WITH DROUGHT: Emily Newton, 21, has seen the impact of drought first-hand after growing up in Walgett.

Walgett's Emily Newton, 21, said young people living on the land were not spending their time being kids because they were seeing drought's effect, including mental illness and financial instability.

"My main hope is that young people are able to come away from the summit with the life skills to be able to tackle the hardships they find themselves facing in the drought," she said.

ADVOCATE: Year 10 Trundle Central School student Hamish Sanderson.

ADVOCATE: Year 10 Trundle Central School student Hamish Sanderson.

Hamish Sanderson, a Year 10 student at Trundle Central School who lives on a farm, says he's involved in the summit because teenagers and young adults from the bush need to be heard.

"These rural youth can also provide us with some ideas or inspiration for methods to assist the communities that are affected by the drought," he told the Parkes Champion-Post.

IDEAS: Patrick Blomfield and Elly Byriell are representing New England on the steering committee.

IDEAS: Patrick Blomfield and Elly Byriell are representing New England on the steering committee.

Patrick Blomfield and Elly Byriell, both 16, are representing the parched New England region on the steering committee.

Patrick, who lives on a 980-hectare Caroona cattle property, said he saw the summit as a way for young people to come together with a common goal - "to listen to ,and share, stories and ideas".

Now there's a novel approach for our policy-making politicians as they get ready to go back to work in Federal Parliament in Canberra next week.

BTW - do you want to run the nation's capital? Well, put down the mobile device you are reading this on, stretch those calves, lace on your running shoes and enter The Canberra Times Fun Run.

Read more here. Or enter here

See below for more great reading from around the Australian Community Media network.

James Joyce

Executive Editor, Australian Community Media

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