2013 Australian Youth Affairs Conference wrap-up

From August 5-7 the team from Ultimate Youth Worker attended the Australian Youth Affairs Conference in Adelaide, South Australia. The conference was hosted by the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition the peak body for young people and the youth sector in Australia. For three days we covered the topics ‘youth participation’, ‘advocate for change’ and ‘support the sector’. On the third day our Director, Aaron Garth, spoke as part of the morning plenary session and delivered a training session on the development of a self care plan.
Aaron Garth presenting at the morning plenary.
Throughout the conference two themes emerged for the Ultimate Youth Worker team which we have been spruiking for well over a year. The first was the need for youth workers to have a better understanding of mental health. Whether it was the delivery of the mental health report card by Batyr and Young and Well CRC or the City of Casey youth services speaking about their online mental health tool, there was a clear need for youth workers to have a solid understanding of mental health and its effects on young people.

The second was how poor the understanding of self care strategies is in the youth sector. So many of the people we spoke to were near burnout or had people in their teams struggling with the weight of their roles. Many of the youth workers we spoke with spoke of pressures on them from their organisations and managers to do more with less resourcing and support.
Delivering the self care planning session.
The AYAC2013 was a great success. But in our eyes it just confirmed what we have been saying for over a year. Look after yourself and know more about mental health.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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