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Youth Forum: “They came back with smiles on their faces”
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Youth Forum: “They came back with smiles on their faces”

Young people from around the globe are in Fremantle on the west coast of Australia this week to take part in the Commonwealth Youth Forum.

Amanda McClintock, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Queensland, reports on how delegates where treated to an awe-inspiring emersion into the country’s culture and nature, and even got to taste kangaroo.

It is overcast and rainy on a Wednesday afternoon in Fremantle, Western Australia, and the Youth Forum delegates are starting to feel the intensity of the process that they have been a part of since Sunday.

As the importance of the communiqué being developed becomes understood, tensions and emotions are running high between all delegates. Jetlag is still being felt for some, and others are simply regretting the lack of sleep they have had during the week. Thankfully, it is time for a break from the work and stress of the forum. Delegates now have the opportunity to enjoy some culturally significant activities that are a part of both Fremantle and Australia.

One group headed off to enjoy some Aboriginal activities at Kidogo Art Institute. The Australian Aboriginal people are indigenous to the country, having lived here for many thousands of years before non-indigenous people arrived in the 1700s. They have a deep and rich culture in music, art as well as exquisite cuisine.

Delegates who opted to attend this activity were able to experience the difficulty of playing a didgeridoo as well as other cultural instruments, gaining an understanding of the music that supports this culture. They were also treated to a dinner of kangaroo and emu, the two animals on the Australian emblem, both of which are very tasty if somewhat unorthodox for non-indigenous Australians.

Another group travelled to Penguin Island where they were able to meet dolphins and cruise around watching penguins and sea lions in their natural habitats. All of the group members came back to Fremantle with big smiles on their faces, excited about the events that had taken place and the opportunities that they had received.

For many, the only time they had seen these animals was in a zoo or aquarium and even then, many had never seen them outside of pictures and movies, so it was a new and exciting experience. A relaxing day enjoying the natural environment of Australia was “the perfect way to take a break from the stress of the forum” as one delegate said.

The third group enjoyed an afternoon at Yanchep National Park taking in the natural beauty of the Australian bush. The opportunity to relax was a welcome break from the week and the delegates came back fresh and relaxed but thankful for the opportunity that they had to experience the natural landscape of a country so diverse from their own.

Regardless of the activity or the experience they had, it was a chance for the delegates to get away from the hotel and the forum, experience something new and make new relationships and friendships along the way.

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About me:

“I am a working-class girl, full-time university student and mental health advocate from sunny south-east Queensland.

“Living in a small country town after growing up in the city only increased my passion for making a difference in my community and further afield, and for speaking up about the issues that matter most. Youth have a voice and it needs to be heard. Stand Up, Speak Up and Be Heard!”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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