Creating a brighter future together: Implementing Our Valuing Youth Strategy

At the end of July, an extremely enthusiastic group of members, volunteers and employees met for the first step in implementing our Valuing Youth Strategy at the Action Group Set Up Day. Over 50 people, representing all Central Councils, came along to find new and innovative ways to make a greater impact in our community.

The Valuing Youth Project began in April 2014 in line with the Society’s Strategic Plan, in particular Strategic Goal 3: Develop Our Membership. We had identified through the project that the Society is not benefitting from the full contribution of young people, and the Society is not enabling young people to fully contribute to its mission and vision. After consulting widely we decided to broaden our focus to look at how we value and welcome people of all ages to join and remain with the Society.

“We can achieve amazing results when members, volunteers and employees work together to create a vibrant society that is communicating and collaborating across the state.”Lukas Rajnoch, Engagement and Support Manager

Five priority areas were determined and Circle Action Groups were formed around them, consisting of people from across NSW working together on initiatives they are passionate about. At the Action Group Set-up Day each circle group identified actions they would undertake and immediately put them into action:
1. Flexible Conference Models
Creating case studies that showcase innovative Conference models and initiatives that are already being pioneered by regions and Conferences.
2. Schools Engagement
Surveying stakeholders in Wollongong CC about their schools’ induction and engagement processes and identifying success stories and practices that have led to strong relationships with schools.
3. Programs for Children
Assessing the current programs for children (with outcomes for children at the forefront) beginning by asking all Central Councils to complete a questionnaire on their current programs.
4. Welcoming and Pathways
Piloting buddying and mentoring initiatives in Lismore to welcome new members and volunteers.
5. Collaboration and Communication
Identifying the needs of Action Groups and rolling out an online file sharing platform to help groups to communicate and collaborate.

To support their work, each group has identified an individual who will coordinate the group and someone to welcome new people into the circle.

Feedback from the day
“The day flowed and so many topics were covered, great ideas came from so many different age groups. It was all positive and a very happy occasion. Great ideas as to how to grow Vinnies for the future.”

“I liked that the tasks going forward have to be small. I also liked coming up with actions and sharing and collaborating. The mixture of people in the groups was great.”

“The goodwill in the room and the detailed way in which thought had been given to set up and the logistics of the day.”

“Very worthwhile time spent on looking into areas which need so much attention going forward.”

“We do need to involve and nurture young members, they are our future!”

We also received constructive feedback on how to improve and make the next gathering an even more rewarding experience for participants, with greater opportunities for interaction and sharing of knowledge and experience between circle group members.

Next steps
The next significant milestone is the Circle Alignment day on Saturday 17 September 2016 – where groups will review their progress, share their successes, welcome new members and decide next actions.

You are invited to:
• Join in and enjoy being part of a Circle Group (which are action groups) – which of the five areas interests you?
• Come along to the upcoming Circle Group Consolidation Day on Saturday 17 September.
• Tell others about this project and become part of the Project Promotion Team.

The Project Promotion Team is looking for people who enjoy networking and communicating to spread the word about this exciting project and actively look for interested people to get involved.

We look forward to hearing from you and to keeping you informed of the progress of the Valuing Youth project and the exciting initiatives being trialled by the action groups.

If you would like more information or have any questions or feedback please contact members of the Engagement and Support Team at State Support Office:

Claire Mercer, Engagement & Support Advisor, 9568 0255 or claire.mercer@vinnies.org.au
Peter Bonwick, Engagement & Support Advisor, 9568 0288 or peter.bonwick@vinnies.org.au
Lukas Rajnoch, Engagement & Support Manager, 9568 0279 or lukas.rajnoch@vinnies.org.au

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