Shire launches Youth Census coinciding with International Youth Day

August 12, 2021 BY

Founder and lead facilitator of Youth Gurus Andy Bell with Young Adult Co-Designer Alex Marshall Photo: VINNIE VAN OORSCHOT

THE Surf Coast Shire will test its presumptions on the region’s youth when it launches one of the biggest data collecting projects to date on a day celebrating young people’s achievements.

The council will launch its biggest ever Youth Census since the first conducted in 2016 to coincide with International Youth Day on August 12.

Partnering with social enterprise Youth Gurus for this year’s census, it will aim to better understand thousands of young people aged 10 to 25 years of age in the Surf Coast.

“We’re aiming to hear the voices of 2000 young people across the shire from the hinterland to the coast,” said Surf Coast Shire mayor Cr Libby Stapleton. “This will be the largest collection of young people’s opinions ever completed in the Surf Coast Shire.”

The Youth Census is to be separated into three different questionnaires for young people to complete depending on their age (10 to 14, 15 to 19 and 20 to 25).

There are also going to be community deep dive sessions for young people to attend in each council ward to discuss the findings and explore opportunities to increase support.

The census arrives at an opportune time, as it will allow the shire to delve into the impact of COVID-19 and how it has affected young people to this point.

“While we might think we know what our young people want, this information will test our presumptions so we can plan for their futures with a certainty around their needs,” Cr Stapleton said.

“That’s why it’s so important for all young people aged 10-25 in the shire to speak up and fill out the Youth Census.”

International Youth Day marks a special day in the calendar of the Surf Coast Shire, particularly within its Youth Development Team.

“Young people are a really important part of our community, and it is really important to acknowledge their successes and what they bring to our community because they are our future,” the shire’s Team Leader for Youth Development Jack Pearson said.

“They have brilliant ideas; they are innovative, and it is really important to elevate their voice.”

Youth Gurus also plays a pivotal role in the census, having been a consultant for the council since earlier this year.

Founder and lead facilitator at Youth Gurus Andy Bell says based on his experience working with young people, they get surveyed constantly, but there are almost never any attempts to follow up the data that is collected.

“A part of what we are doing is providing the feedback through our website on what we are hearing from the data and the responses, as well as what the Surf Coast Shire is doing regarding programs for schools and the community,” Mr Bell said.

“We know with COVID that young people have been in a way disproportionally affected through education disruption and employment.

“We have also heard anecdotally and through data from various sources the effect the pandemic has had on the younger demographic, and we really want to try and capture that locally.”

The Youth Census forms part of council’s COVID recovery program.

The findings of the census will provide the foundation for informing future action plans, programs, and services for young people.

Questionaries from the census are accessible via



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