That’s a wrap for Youth Week 2021 This year our Youth Advisory Group took the steering wheel (and front seat!) on delivering a suite of activities for young people during Youth Week 2021. That included a youth-led panel and workshop focussed on Mental Health Awareness and Access (with special guests from Beyond Blue) and the annual Visual Art Competition. The panel and workshop event provided young people with relevant information on accessing mental health supports in their community, and strategies to manage anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. We heard from industry professionals at Beyond Blue, youth workers and young people who shared insights and helpful strategies to manage individuals’ mental health, gain valuable knowledge on local and virtual support services that are available, and how to navigate a mental health care plan with your healthcare practitioner. One of our Youth Coaches, Tom Downie, shared his reflection on the youth-led panel, “I thought the interaction between the audience and speakers was great, and that a really safe space was created to share views and thoughts”. Hope, YAG Member & Event MC Youth Advisory Group Member and event MC, Hope, also shared that “Youth Week was successful not only for Youth Projects, but also for the young people in the community. It was amazing to see so many young people participating in Youth Week 2021”. In the weeks leading up to Youth Week 2021, the Youth Advisory Group put a call out to budding, young artists from across Victoria to have their voice heard within the community, express their ideas and promote the real, lived experience of young people over the past year – through art. “We were all so impressed, and deeply moved, by the diverse talents of young people demonstrated through these incredible submissions. The creativity, skill, technique, and passion shown through all the entries was so inspiring. The themes of resilience, adaptability and recovery shone through in all the artworks, and reminded us that we can look toward the future with hope and optimism” shares Julia Pieters, Youth Advisory Group Facilitator and EST Coach at Youth Projects. We received submissions from young artists across the state through a range of mediums, including paintings, photographs, sketches, digital artworks, skateboard deck and surfboard designs, a children’s story book cover, flash tattoo sheets and short films. All of the entries encapsulated the strength, courage and resilience of young people, navigating these turbulent and uncertain circumstances. One of the young artists shared that ‘art is a tool for empowerment and growth.’ Squared by Ruby Lynton, 20 (Judges special mention) The judges – all local young people - were blown away by the talent and accomplishments of young people in the face of so much adversity, hardship, and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an incredibly difficult decision for the judging panel who empathised and resonated with so many of the themes and messages of the artworks submitted. Prize winners and special mentions of the Visual Art Competition 2021 were announced at the youth-led panel and workshop, including the YAG Choice Award. Check out all the winning entries, hear from the artists and what inspired their pieces over here. The Youth Advisory Group would like to acknowledge and give a special mention to the following young artists: Sarah Ghassali, Dylan Schafter & Ruby Lynton.