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Youth Voice

When you stand outside the Chatswood Youth Centre (CYC) you can already feel the vibes of the youth-orientated atmosphere. Looking through the windows, past the colourful poster-papered exterior and you will see the fun and welcoming activities the centre offers young people. If you are between 12 and 18 years old, this really is the place to be.

Lounge around: Willoughby City Council’s (WCC) Youth Services Co-ordinator John Woodward outlines the activities available at the centre: “young people can lounge around, grab an acoustic guitar, use the pool table, play table tennis or air-hockey, try some rooftop basketball, volleyball or soccer, use the open air table tennis, punching bags and mini skate or scooter facilities, use the Internet, have a turn on the PS3, X-Box 360 and Wii games consoles, get into our kitchen facilities and (heaps) more...all for free.”

Walk around the back of the centre and the full-size basketball courts materialise. The courts are in constant use, games ranging from friendlies to intense demonstrations of skill. Everyone using the centre is under 18 and this really adds to the young community feel.
Artarmon kids can get involved in all these activities. Whether you are interested in sport, music, cooking or something technology-based - there is a whole range of facilities at your disposal. Besides being free and safe, they are just at the end of a five-minute train ride or a 15 to 25 minute walk away.

“We currently average 70 young people per day at CYC,” John tells me.  “(About) 70% are male and 30% female. The majority of young people attend local schools and/or live in the area.”

However, CYC does not just limit itself to being a fun place, it also takes part in youth development by providing a wide range of leadership opportunities and initiatives.

“Importantly CYC is part of the WCC Youth Services unit. As well as operating the youth centre, WCC Youth Services also run the Willoughby Youth Action Group (WYAG) and a girls-only program called Glambition,” John says.

Relevant Programs: WYAG is for young people who want to organise and run programs themselves and also find out what the needs of local young people are so WCC’s Youth Services provide programs that are relevant to the youth population.

In Artarmon, that has included Arty, the Artarmon Progress Association youth sub-committee, which has organised the popular Starsearch talent quests and other events such as Halloween parties, barefoot bowling and youth garden.

John says Glambition is a new initiative that provides opportunities for young women to participate in activities run by WCC’s Youth Services. Because only about 30% of the young people at the centre are girls, Glambition was started to make sure young women have the same opportunities as the boys. 

Available for all: “We pride ourselves on making sure that CYC is available to all young people,” John says. “In fact, we have a great working relationship with the local intensive English centre (in Chatswood) to make sure we include young people from different cultural backgrounds.

The main idea of the centre is involvement and participation. For Artarmon kids, this is a great place to hang out! It’s close, it’s got a really friendly atmosphere, and it doesn’t cost anything – so see you there!

by Karina Curry-Hyde

Courtesy of Gazette May 2011
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Youth Centre
Youth Centre,
cnr Albert Ave & Victor St





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