Strengthening young people’s participation 

While the concept of ‘youth participation’ was not a new one, the early 2000s saw a renewed focus on strengthening participatory practice with young people in services, organisations and government processes.

In 2004, the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (which had regained funding following a change of Government after the 1999 state election) worked collaboratively with State Government to develop resources to support young people’s participation in their communities, organisations and decision-making bodies. In this era, the youth participation team at CMYI grew and assumed an integral role within the organisation. Young people participated in a host of new programs and opportunities through CMYI, including mentoring programs, anti-racism events and initiatives, the creative arts and comedy, in shaping and participating in research, sport and recreation programs, advocacy activities, multifaith initiatives, environmental and sustainability programs, tailored programs that recognise the intersection of gender and culture in young people’s identities, youth leadership programs and programs and initiatives facilitating international connections between young people.

In the content of the early 2000s, these opportunities that CMYI created for young people’s participation strengthened a sense of belonging and empowerment for young people at a time when the events of September 11, 2001 had given rise to racial and religious vilification, particularly targeting young people of Arab and/or Muslim backgrounds.