Youth Engagement Initiatives

Youth Engagement Initiatives

We have so much to learn from young people. Crucially, we also have a lot to learn about the best ways to engage them (in all their fabulous diversity!) in the work of the Berry Street Childhood Institute and in public conversations about a good childhood. Nevertheless, we like to think we’re making progress!

We hope, as we get better at doing this, young people will contact us with their ideas and input as well as their thoughts on how we can continue to improve our approach. We want to share our experiences and to inspire other organisations to more actively engage young people in their work.

If you’re a young person with ideas and energy and a desire to see childhood improved for children across Australia, you can connect with us through the Imaginate Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, or by using the hashtags #MyGoodChildhood and #BSCIyouth on any social media.

The examples below are just that; examples. We’re constantly advocating and working to see young people engaged more, better and with meaning, both in the child and family welfare sector and more broadly.

IMAGINATE: Good Childhood according to young Australians

In 2014 we ran IMAGINATE, a national multimedia competition asking young Australians “what should a good childhood look like?”

Over three months young people submitted their music, short films, stories, personal accounts, paintings, photographs and a range of other artistic works. Together the entries created a powerful picture of good childhood through the eyes of young Australians.

You can take a look at all the amazing the entries by visiting and you can stay in touch with developments by following us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Through a process of analysis, workshops and consultations we have distilled the messages we heard, felt and saw into this Good Childhood Narrative:

My childhood is perfectly imperfect:

It’s the simple things - love, family, friendships, belonging;

My imagination is where I make my hopes and dreams;

The freedom to explore lets me be curious, discover and grow;

When I test my limits and am fearless, I learn more about who I am;

There is fun, joy and laughter.

My childhood is my right – respect it and protect it!

The journey doesn’t end here, though. Watch this space for information about how we will be using the Good Childhood Narrative to improve childhood for more children.

And in the meantime, here’s a little taster of some of the amazing work we saw through the competition:

The Good Childhood Conference

In 2013 we held our first Good Childhood Conference. It was important to us that young people play a key role in developing the conference as well as being visible participants and speakers at the event itself.

During the planning phase we engaged three young people to develop and lead a series of youth consultations to get feedback regarding the look, feel and content of the conference. You can view the feedback from young people
here. Their input was key to making the event the success that it was. Over 60 young people attended and they were able to access a Youth Desk for information, youth-specific merchandise and a space to hang out and chat to other young people. Importantly there were also numerous presentations either aimed at young audiences or facilitated and presented by young people.

We know it wasn’t perfect, but for a first attempt we’re pretty proud!

Berry Street was first established on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respect to their Elders, past and present, and to all the traditional custodians of land throughout Australia.