Eurobodalla Council has picked up a coveted award for its Young Legends program, which inspires environmentally-minded teenagers to enact change in their communities.
The Council won Keep Australia Beautiful NSW’s environmental communication award at the most recent Sustainable Communities Awards.
Run every two years, Young Legends invites environmentally-motivated students from Eurobodalla high schools to a weekend camp. There, they work on their ideas and goals with young motivational mentors and are given the skills and support to run initiatives in the community.
Past Young Legends have gone on to deliver projects like setting up recycling facilities at their schools, auditing their school’s energy use, running educational events, starting Boomerang Bags in Eurobodalla and even volunteering to help set up a recycling facility at Ataura Island in East Timor. Many also continued with further study or careers in environmental fields.
2017 Young Legend Pearl Mitchell said it was great to get together with likeminded individuals with such different perspectives. She said the program helped her see that sustainability could be integrated into any path she chose.
“I had a linear perception of what it meant to be an ‘environmentalist’, but Young Legends empowered me to explore different means in which I could incorporate my values into any field,” she said.
“It provides an open space in which young adults can fully brainstorm various environmental endeavours openly and creatively. I remember feeling very inspired and excited for the endless possibilities!
“It also gave me tools and ideas to organise and plan my own events in the future, which I still utilise today with organising various clean ups and events.”
Now at university, Pearl returned in 2019 as a mentor to help inspire the next generation.
Council’s environment education officer Bernadette Davis started the program after seeing the need to bring young legends working in isolation together. She was stoked with the award but is even prouder to see so many young folk inspired for change.
“The Young Legends are our future environmental champions, and with a bit of nurturing and support – who knows what they can achieve,” she said.
“Invitations to apply for this year’s program will open later this year and I can’t wait to see what the next generation of Young Legends come up with.”
Young Legends is made possible thanks to the support of the camp’s accommodation provider, the mentors who donate their time, and Eurobodalla Council.