For Young People

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Staying stress-free

Sometimes it can be hard to stay involved in something, particularly if it feels like outcomes are talking a while to happen. Life often has bumps to deal with, so stay stress free by looking after yourself and the people around you.
Be patient – it’s a marathon not a sprint! :)

Campaigns and projects take time. You may not see the results you want for a while, so you need to be prepared to wait and keep working.

Stay focused

Have a clear purpose for your project, program, event or campaign. Make sure everyone involved understands what they are doing and why it’s important. Setting goals and objectives will help you do this. Make sure you can clearly communicate these to anyone who needs to know. Including a range of short and long term goals will help make sure there are lots of small victories to celebrate along the way! Start work early to find any funding you need to meet your long-term goals.

Build supportive relationships

Build links with other organisations so you can access their experience and knowledge. Other people and groups will have experienced what you’re going through. Find them and ask them what they learned and what advice or skills they recommend. Don't be afraid to ask an older person with more experience than you to be your mentor - someone who can provide advice and support.

Look after your crew

If you’re running a group, or working as part of a crew on a project or campaign, acknowledge other people and show you value their input and efforts. Offer support and positive feedback, especially those people who seem a bit quiet or down. Keep tasks and responsibilities spread around, so everyone has stuff to do (but not too much!). If you think someone is getting too tense or anxious, try these tips for how to help a stressed-out friend.

Make time for some social activities that your crew can do together, like bush walking or going to the beach or cinema. This will help you all to relax and get to know each other better.

Learn how SYN support their young volunteers:

Welcome and support new members

In any group, it’s important that new members feel as welcomed and valued as existing members. New people will bring fresh ideas and perspectives, so encourage members to bring their friends – this will also help build people’s confidence. Having a varied group of people – with different ages, cultural backgrounds, skills or abilities – will bring different ideas and experiences to help you chill out or solve problems.

Dealing with arguments

A situation could arise where you get angry or frustrated with someone you’re working with. Or other people in a group or team might have conflicts with each other. If this happens, try and improve the situation by:

  • talking with the other person, or encouraging the people in conflict to talk with each other – people won’t change their behaviour if they don’t know it’s bothering anyone
  • being clear (or asking them to be clear) about what they think the problem is – ask them to do this in a calm, objective manner and focus on the problem and not the person
  • working at going forward, not blaming people for past problems – suggest how you would like to resolve the situation, and ask for others’ suggestions
  • taking time out to diffuse the situation, then agree on what you will do to make sure things happen differently in the future.
Have a plan B

Things don’t always go to plan, so it’s important to have backup – a plan B! Sometimes you can turn set-backs to your advantage, so think creatively about how you can make the most of any situation that comes up.

Look after yourself

Staying focused and building relationships is a lot easier if you’re looking after yourself properly. Exercising regularly, eating well and getting enough sleep will all help to look after your body and mind.

When things get tough it’s good to have someone to talk with, so keep in touch with family and friends. Make time each week to do special things for you, that aren’t related to your project, group or campaign. Hang out with loved ones, visit new places or treat yourself to a special meal, gig or film.

Recognise that it’s okay to put things on hold if you need to – a happy life always comes first!

Celebrate the journey

Seeing results is a great way to motivate yourself and others. Recognising achievements, even if they are small, will remind everyone involved why they are committing their time and energy. So make time for celebrating the journey as your project or campaign builds momentum.

Ask for help

Remember that your local youth services can help, so get in touch.

If you’re having a tough time, you could have a chat with headspace.

Other places that you can ask for help are:

  • Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) – a free and confidential telephone counselling service for 5-25year olds.
  • Lifeline (13 11 14) –free and confidential crisis support, available 24 hours a day.
  • the Victorian Human Rights Commission – free help to resolve complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation and racial or religious vilification.
  • YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service) – free and confidential support for drug or alcohol issues.

(* By featuring the organisations above, we're not recommending or endorsing them. Please read the Yerp disclaimer for more info.

If you know more ways to get support that we should included in Yerp, please email us).

What you can do now
  • Explore – an online community for young people, that can help with mental health and wellbeing-related issues.
  • Download the free Sorter app (recommended for ages 17+).

British Youth Council (BYC) (2011), Youth at the Table: What skills do I need to be great at governance?, London: BYC.

Ricketts, A. (2012), The Activists' Handbook: A step-by-step guide to participatory democracy, London: Zed Books.

YACVic (2004), Taking Young People Seriously: Creating Change in Your Community, Melbourne: YACVic and the Victorian Government.

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