Three-day Youth Fest unlocks talents of young people

About 350 young people in Singleton have spent the weekend discovering their hidden talents as well as learning techniques to reach their potential in the first ever Youth Fest – Teens in 19.

Singleton Youth Venue and Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen MP joined forces to present the three-day festival, targeting young people aged 10 to 18 years with a host of workshops on offer from Shakespeare to African drumming, and from hip hop song writing to makeup.

Best of all, the bulk of the activities were held in Singleton and all were free of charge thanks to a $50,000 Youth Opportunities Grant through NSW Family and Community Services.

All the action began on Friday with a skateboard workshop at Newcastle indoor skatepark Sanbah Grindhouse, and continued at the Singleton Civic Precinct with an arts day on Saturday (including workshops by NIDA, Bell Shakespeare, Tantrum Youth Arts, and Caterpult dance company) followed by keynote speaker and leading life coach Matt Purcell along with nutrition, makeup, skincare, reiki, mindfulness and stress relief workshops to cap off the festival yesterday.

“The work of the Singleton Youth Centre is amazing and so important,” Member for Upper Hunter, Michael Johnsen said.

“I am so honoured to be able to assist in some small way to the benefit of our youth.”

Mayor of Singleton, Cr Sue Moore paid tribute to the energy and enthusiasm of the small team at Singleton Youth Venue, namely Singleton Council’s Youth Services Team Leader Loren Arnott and Youth Workers Hayden Moore and Dan Stranger.

“What’s amazing about this event is that it was the young people who use the Singleton Youth Venue who put forward the idea, which came about because of the difficulties in accessing opportunities that young people in other areas take for granted because they don’t need to travel,” she said.

“While it might have been easy to throw their hands up and say there was nothing they could do about it, Council’s Youth Services team took those concerns on board and with Mr Johnsen’s help, brought a host of amazing activities to Singleton – not least NIDA, Bell Shakespeare and of course, leading life coach and general inspiration Matt Purcell.

“I am confident there were a lot of hidden talents uncovered at the weekend, and I hope plenty of young people in Singleton who now know there are no limits to what they might achieve – regardless of what their aspirations are.

“Youth Fest is a fantastic concept, and I hope it’s something we can work with Mr Johnsen on to make happen again.”