Collaborative effort for change

What made your heart soar this week?

For me, it was a group of young people who collaborate to affect positive change in their community. They contribute their time, energy and ideas to advise decision-makers in local government.

They were lucky to get the gig on this new advisory body. Apparently, there were over 50 applications.

They get together after school, uni or work, to discuss complex issues, on which they hope to have an influence, for no financial reward.


Top of their list climate change, diversity in decision-making and connecting their community.

“People just seem to ‘pass through’ our area. I wish it was more of a place where people wanted to stay and hang out.”

“I hope that we’ll be able to make stronger connections across our community.”

“I don’t want our group to just be a ‘tick a box’ thing.”

They were really keen to find other ways to collaborate across age, ethnic and social groups. To give as many people an opportunity to have their say.

“Looking around the Council meeting tonight, most people had white hair, grey hair or no hair.”

“People have to go to meetings now. Why can’t Council go to people?”

“Every meeting should have one question allocated to a young person.”

We were all a bit tired when we arrived and it was a small group. Nobody could hide in a crowd.

A trivia quiz, some photos to prompt thinking and questions that followed their lead lifted our energy and generated a collaborative conversation.

And they played through to stumps. Their feedback was thoughtful. They wrote of their hopes, passions and desires for the potential of their group.

We’d over catered so they took a few extra biscuits and cakes home with them. The youngest carefully wrapped in serviettes, “…one for everyone in the family.”

They were concerned, but didn’t seem overwhelmed or cynical. I’m sure they’ll be in the crowds on 20 and 27 September for the #GlobalClimateStrikes.

Their attitude was a stark contrast to a disaffected group of service sector professionals I'd worked with recently. This group complained about the lack of opportunities to develop their skills and grow. Yet, few took up the opportunities offered to collaborate on projects aimed at improving customer experience, reducing their carbon footprint and a whole range of social issues related to their work. I wish they’d seen these young people in action.

Afterward, I walked to the tram with a spring in my step. I wondered if the people in the houses I walked past knew that their future was in good hands.

What collaborative efforts are making your heart sore this week? I’d love to hear, please share in the comments below.

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