New Youth Officers are keen to get started

The youth of Cobar are looking like they will get the best of both worlds after Cobar Shire Council recently employed two local residents to job-share the role of Youth Of-ficer.
Natalie Prisk and Stephen Gillette have been working in their roles for the past month and now that lockdown has been lifted, they are keen to put their plan of action into effect.
In their job-share role as new Youth Officers, they will be developing and delivering a range of programs aimed at young people to increase their socialisation, connection, knowledge, skills, resilience, wellbeing, and participation in the local community.
Natalie said that includes: advocating for the youth of Cobar in whatever ways they require to ensure they can play an active role in the community; assisting with planning and imple-menting community events; liaising with gov-ernment and not-for-profit organisations to ensure health outcomes are achieved; liaising with state and federal government bodies to apply for grants; and being available during drop in events to connect with local youth.
Both are keen to make a positive change for Cobar’s youth.
Stephen said while they have a lot of ideas of what they’d like to do with the kids, they are however going to be taking a “youth-led” ap-proach to the role and letting the kids decide what they’d like to do.
“Our main role is to advocate for them, and assist them however we can,” Stephen said.
Natalie sees their job as helping to give local youth a platform and the tools they need to feel empowered.
“This will enable youth to lead the way and improve the community that they are engaged with,” she said. Natalie and Stephen each bring a totally dif-ferent skill set and range of experience to the role and it seems like they complement each other very well.
Natalie, who describes herself “as your typi-cal introvert who loves being behind the lap-top” has a background in financial manage-ment (as well as a Graduate Diploma of Educa-tion) and said her focus will be on project man-agement, engaging with stakeholders and man-aging resources. “The opportunities to create a positive change
seem endless with this role,” Natalie said.
She said she can see there are opportunities to
achieve both quick improvements and to also
help to effect long term changes.
“Improving leadership, teamwork and confidence
amongst the youth is a big motivator for
taking on the role,” Natalie said.
For Stephen, the desire to work as a Youth
Officer came from within his own young family,
some of which he said are soon to be in the
“bored teenagers” age group.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get things
going for local kids and even help them in their
career paths outside of school as well.
“I’m really excited to be able to help in doing
that,” he said.
Stephen has previously worked with youth in
other volunteer roles, in particular through the
sport of rugby union.
“Cobar will always have a lot of sport for
kids which is great so that aspect is already
taken care of.”
Stephen said when sport is finished for the
season kids will be looking for other afterschool
activities and he also wants to promote
other interests for kids who may prefer arts and
He said they aimed to offer Cobar youth a
broad range of things to do.
While both have been working behind the
scenes for the past month, this Friday will be
the day the action plan kicks into effect.
“It will kick off with the youth council meeting
this Friday,” Natalie said.
“It’s been 18 months or so since their last
meeting so we’re going to call for new members
and start that up again,” she said.
“The Cobar Youth Council is an inclusive
space for all community members aged 12-25
to make a difference within their community.
“If kids feel like they are unsure of what can
be achieved, or they are unsure about joining –
they can come along to the meeting this week
and experience what it is all about, there is no
pressure to actively participate,” Natalie said.
Apart from a free lunch, youth who attend
this week’s meeting will be encouraged to put
forward ideas they would like to see happen in
Cobar and also take part in a workshop to create
a focus plan for the Youth Officers to follow.
“We’ll be allowing the youth to put the ideas
forward because they are the ones that are going
to drive it,” Stephen said.
In the past, Cobar’s youth workers have been
based out of the Cobar Youth & Fitness Centre,
but with the centre currently closed for renovations,
the pair will be basing themselves at the
Cobar Memorial Children’s Hostel (where they
hope to create a temporary drop-in centre) and
will also be arranging a number of activities at
the Cobar Memorial Swimming Pool.
Once the renovations are complete at the
Youthie, they will move in and work from
While Natalie will be kept busy working on
the administration and project management side
of things, Stephen however has a totally different
immediate focus.
He reckons he needs to quickly get up to
speed on how to make Tik Tok and YouTube
videos and working out how to use social media
platforms such Instagram and Snapchat
which are popular with teenagers.