The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, opened the inaugural Defence Youth Engagement and Development Congress in Sydney on Saturday 28th May 2011.
The Congress involved Australian Navy Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Force Cadets as well as other Defence and community youth organisations.
The two day forum was an opportunity to discuss youth engagement and development initiatives and consider ways in which youth organisations can assist Australian youth with the challenges and choices of adolescence.
Notable attendees included:
- Mr Noel Hadjimichael CEO Apex Australia,
- Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Rtd) RSL National President,
- Hon Larry Anthony, National Chairman Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
- Kim Brislane, National CEO Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
- Sue Walker, Asia Pacific Regional Director Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
- Phillip Corboy, Hon Federal Secretary/Treasurer, Australian Navy League,
- Dr John Irvine, Child Psychologist and Mark McCrindle, Social Researcher.
Other organisations included: Australian Childhood Foundation, Australian Red Cross, NSW SES Cadet Program, Commonwealth Office for Youth, Combined Associated Schools NSW, Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne.
Many took part in presentations and discussions covering topics such as: current and future challenges faced by Australian youth, youth engagement and development models; and engaging, retaining and developing adult leaders in youth organisations.
In opening the Congress, Senator Feeney said: “Defence supports more than 20 different youth engagement and development programs across Australia, including the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Cadets, the Defence 2020 Youth Challenge, the Indigenous Youth Connections Program, and the Young Endeavour Scheme.”
“These programs encourage Australian youth to understand and develop their strengths and positively consider their role in society.”
“It is important that youth organisations regularly reflect on the needs of Australian youth and share their experiences. The congress is an important vehicle through which all youth organisations can share experiences, examine challenges and create opportunities for future co-operation,” Senator Feeney said.
Major General Paul Brereton, Head Cadet, Reserve and Employer Support Division proudly highlighted the ADF Cadets as the most significant youth program conducted by Defence.
“Across Australia, there are more than 450 cadet units. There are over 23,000 cadets and around 1800 volunteer staff drawn from schools and local communities.
ADF Cadets conduct creative personal development programs for Australian young people 12 to 19 years old. Whilst ADF Cadet traditions might extend back over 100 years, the current focus is very much 21st century youth development thinking,” Major General Brereton said.
Photographs from the event can be found at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=20112915
Media Contact: Lorna Clarke – 0408 345 730