The Nambucca Valley Youth Services Centre (Youthie) is a treasured safe place for a diverse group of youngsters in the Valley.
Each week twenty to thirty kids make use of the facilities and services - whether it be stocking up from the pantry, using the wifi and computers, chilling on the lounges and playing some video games, getting help with homework, or meeting up with new and old friends.
The weekly youth nights are a particular favourite - so much so that one fifteen-year-old, Nika, decided to ensure a constant supply of funding for the nights by organising a 'Return and Earn' cans and bottles collection. The money raised from her initiative is invaluable to sustaining the nights into the future, even if government grant funding slows.
But as loved as the Youthie is, it had been a good 15 years since it had undergone a makeover.
Four weeks ago, with a new coordinator at the helm, it was time for a revamp. And the results after some Marie Kondo-ing and a lick of paint really do spark joy.
"It was pretty cluttered before. After the paint job, the walls felt really bare, and we knew we needed to fill them," Youthie coordinator Chantelle Dimaan said.
We wanted the space to reflect our local youth, and to encourage a feeling of ownership - so we decided we needed their input.
An art competition was held, with the intention of hanging the winning pieces on the walls for all to admire.
In total 38 artworks were submitted from kids aged seven to 24. And on Tuesday, four judges (The Youthie's Chris Hewgill and Deirdre Bear, Wesley Youth Accommodation Services' Meena Johnson, and local artist Annalisa Wilson) had the somewhat unenviable job of choosing the winning pieces from the amazing breadth of creative works submitted.
"We made our selection based on technique, the age of each artist, the response to the theme - 'Our Nambucca Valley', and the level of creativity. We also relied on our gut reaction," Chris Hewgill said.
Congratulations go to:
- 1st place: Zabian Haigh with 'Above The V-Wall'
- 2nd place: Tiajuana Rosser with 'Waterhole Dreaming'
- 3rd place: Tahlia Pritchard with 'Community Connection To Country'
- 4th place: Nikita Vanzanten with 'Green Boy'
A special mention also goes to the runners up: Kirra Ratcliffe, Marli Weimer, Tiajuana Rosser and Matthew Bryce Donnelly.
Not only will the winners receive prizes (thanks to a $400 donation from Wesley) and have their art featured in the Youthie, they will also be featured in the 2020/21 Nambucca Valley Youth Services Directory.
The judges were all blown away by the level of talent on display, and are very keen to see the winning works go up on the walls.
"Congratulations to the prize winners. Your artworks really impressed the judges. There are many talented young people in the Nambucca Valley. Not all won prizes this time, but I hope they keep doing their art," Deirdre Bear said.