Youth take part in Heywire workshop

The ABC has run the annual regional youth project in partnership with the Australian Government since 1998.

Heywire is open to people aged 16-22 living in regional or rural Australia, encouraging young people to tell stories about their lives outside the major cities through text, photo, video or audio formats.

Strathbogie youth were treated to a hands-on writing workshop with Heywire producer Katie McAllister recently where they began formulating stories to submit to this year’s competition.

“Heywire is all about championing the perspectives of young people,” Ms McAllister said.

“There were some incredible stories already coming out of the workshop with some of the young people of Strathbogie, I can’t wait to read their entries!”

Up to 40 winners from all over regional Australia are selected for the competition each year.

They work with ABC producers to see their stories featured across ABC platforms including ABC TV, Radio National, Local Radio, triple j and iView.

Winners will also have the opportunity to come together to discuss how life could be improved for young people in their communities.

Strathbogie Shire Council Mayor Cr Chris Raeburn said it was a fantastic way for the Shire’s young people to tell their experiences of living in a rural setting.

“We know we have an aging demographic, so it is incredibly important to highlight the unique experiences of young people in the Strathbogie Shire,” Cr Raeburn said.

“There are so many fantastic young people doing great things here and we encourage them to share their stories through the Heywire competition.”

Euroa’s Elliot Paterson, 17, took park in the workshop and said it was interesting to listen to other people write and share their stories.

“I enjoyed telling other participants how I took up learning to play bass guitar during lockdown in July, 2020 and how I used that time to really improve my music,” he said.

Elliot’s father Brendan Paterson, who is a teacher, said the Heywire presenter had great teaching techniques to draw out the participants’ stories.

“In less than an hour, everyone taking part in the Zoom meeting had a small story ready to share, which most then shared,” he said.

“It was a great way to encourage young people in rural areas to share their stories, which is really important in an age when many of the commercial media networks are decreasing their coverage of local news.”

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