Waterford Comhairle na nOg Youth Conference 2023
Waterford Comhairle na nOg held their annual Youth Conference in the Tower Hotel on Wednesday 15th November. The event was organised by the members of the Youth Council for young people aged 12-18 years of age. 165 young people from youth projects and schools across the county joined together to discuss issues affecting young people in the county today.
The event started with Molly-Ann Power, from Kilmacthomas, providing an acoustic set of songs to welcome the participants. Young people were welcomed to the event by Waterford Comhairle na nOg chairperson, Tia Weldon. The Mayor of Waterford, Councillor Joe Conway officially opened the conference and acknowledged the work completed by Waterford Comhairle na nOg over the last year. The project they have been working on was ‘Relationship & Sexual Education’ The group decided to record a podcast, Comhra la Comhairle, which was launched by the Mayor.
Young people were then welcomed to identify the top three issues that they felt young people in Waterford were experiencing. While these were being counted, Brian O’Neill from the Waterford Sports Partnership, ran a range of games and icebreakers to help everyone get to know one another.
The votes were cast and the top three issues identified were Bullying, Substance Misuse, and Mental Health. Young people were involved in a consultative process to give them the space and encouraged to discuss these issues and how they affect them.
Jen, from SLI Waterford, then led a workshop on the SDGs and how young people can commit to making a change in their lives to support Climate change. A live podcast recording was then done with young people, representing Waterford Youth Arts, Waterford & South Tipperary Community Youth Service & Comhairle na nOg live on stage. The podcast was chaired by Mara Matthews with participants, Ruán O Cheilleachair, Annabelle Power, Michaela Hopkins, Ashuu O’Brien with floor support from Jane Sinnott.
The session concluded with an energetic dance workshop with Sinead Gould. Sinead had the room up learning a dance routine, dance battles and high energy heading into lunch.
Live music was provided during lunch by the local Youth Band, Chalk Blonde. Chalk Blonde consists of Charlie Maher, Joe Kid, Kai Bartels- Mc an Ghearr & Siofra Bartels – Shortt. The band thrilled the crowd with a 30-minute set of original music.
Waterford Comhairle na nOg presented their work over the last year. There were speeches from Tia Weldon, Alex Power, Mara Matthews, Kinga Klos, Roisin Browne & Saoirse Firth. The day concluded with the result of the vote. Waterford Comhairle na nOg will work on the topic of Mental Health for 2024.
Waterford Comhairle na nOg is one of the 31 Comhairle from across the country that is supported by the DCEIDY. Waterford Comhairle na nOg is part of Waterford & South Tipperary Community Youth Service and is supported by Waterford City and County Council. Audio support on the day was provided by Frontline Audio. Photography by DGM Photography.. You can check out the podcast on Spotify.
If you are aged between 12-17 years of age and interested in joining contact Waterford Comhairle na nOg Co-ordinator Amy Doherty at email@example.com or call 0868368113