Stage One of the project consisted of four, forum based sessions in September and October 2017, where the 40 participants came together to:
- Learn about government structures;
- Discuss and narrow specific issues important to the group to express to decision makers; and
- Build skills in how to develop position papers.
Important to these sessions was teaching and showing participants multiple different tools used to have political influence.
The students, through a process of collaboration, discussion and voting by the broader group, identified two key policy areas that they wanted to see discussed and a proactive approach to system change implemented.
Those two issues were:
- Support for the mental health and emotional wellbeing for young people
- Access and availability of services to support those affected by substance use/abuse
The students then developed position papers for the two issues, working in collaboration with and under the guidance and input of university students participating in the South Australian Parliamentary Internship Program and Dr Samantha Battams from Health Outcomes International (HOI), who worked in parallel to the SYC Youth IMPACT Project on a pro-bono basis.
Stage Two of the Project was a Q&A Session in SA Parliament House with Members of Parliament representing three political parties at the 2018 South Australian election, allowing participants to ask questions about the issues important to them, including those presented in the position papers.
From students who participated in the SYC Youth IMPACT Project:
I definitely feel more important and I feel like I can get my word out.
I just feel like I am more comfortable and could ask anyone anything about politics and get an answer that I can learn from.
It’s shown me what people our age and in a group can actually achieve.