Heywire youth summit discusses critical regional issues

DISCUSSING ISSUES: The ABC's Heywire 2015 South East winner Rebecca Browne (third row second from left) at the recent Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra.

DISCUSSING ISSUES: The ABC's Heywire 2015 South East winner Rebecca Browne (third row second from left) at the recent Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra.

Tanja’s Rebecca Browne has recently returned from a week-long Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra after being announced the competition’s 2015 South East winner.

It taught me that there really is a story behind every face. - Heywire 2015 South East winner Rebecca Browne

“The Heywire summit was an opportunity to voice our concerns about issues facing regional Australia,” the 16-year-old said this week.

Along with other delegates from around the country, Rebecca discussed ideas on improving rural and regional Australia. 

“These ideas focused on issues such as racism, gender equality, community involvement and tourism,” she said. 

“I had the opportunity to meet young people from all over Australia; each with their own unique stories, experiences and ideas to share, as well as federal politicians and our Governor General.

“It taught me that there really is a story behind every face.”

Rebecca’s obvious storytelling skills shown in her competition entry “I have never understood the point of fences” is what sparked the interest of Heywire judges.

“I think storytelling is a great method of communication – it allows you to convey an important message in a way that really engages the responder,” Rebecca said.

Her piece tackles a child’s struggle to accept the adult concept of ownership.

“In our local area, people have started to put up fences, drawing a line in the sand where their land begins and ends,” she says in her piece.

Rebecca moved to the small coastal village of Tanja at the age of six and its natural landscape has been a big inspiration for her work.

“My favourite thing about growing up on the Far South Coast would have to be the natural landscape, in particular our beaches – I feel so lucky to have grown up where the beaches are pristine and uncrowded,” she said.

The initial South East award surprised the Year 12 Lumen Christi student.

“I was really surprised and excited,” she said.

“I was so happy that the judges saw merit in my work.

“It gave me hope that the issue that I raised in my entry is something that concerns people other than just myself and my family.”

Rebecca was inspired by the youth summit, which she said helped her verbal communication skills.

“In Canberra we had the opportunity to talk to federal politicians and other influential figures, but with limited time it was essential that I could express my concerns and ideas concisely,” Rebecca said.

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