YACVic Rural is a core agency of the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic), the peak body and leading policy advocate on young people’s issues in Victoria. YACVic’s vision is that young Victorians have their rights upheld and are valued as active participants in their communities.

We know that young people and youth professionals in rural and regional Victoria often have unique insights and face different challenges to those in metropolitan Melbourne. In response, YACVic Rural expands our state-wide advocacy for young people in regional communities and the rural youth sector. We focus our presence across the Great South Coast and Southern Mallee regions.

YACVic Rural works in partnership with young people, youth practitioners and our partner agencies to:

  • advocate on issues that affect young people and the sector that supports them
  • strengthen young people’s community participation and self-advocacy
  • support and resource youth workers and other people who work and volunteer with young people.

Get involved

Find out about events we’re running in rural and regional Victoria.


You can see our advocacy relating to rural and regional young people, the youth sector and communities here.

Rural Youth Awards

The Rural Youth Awards are designed and hosted by our YACVic Activators and Rural team to recognise the innovation and achievements of young people and the rural youth sector across the state.

We celebrate the young people and those working in the sector to celebrate our amazing youth workers and innovative youth projects from across country Victoria. 

Find out more about the Rural Youth Awards.


Sign up for our newsletter, Signposts, here. You'll get fresh resources, events, training, surveys and examples of good practice from rural communities, delivered straight to your inbox.

Our team

Derm Ryan, YACVic Rural Manager 

Derm has been involved in community development, health promotion and youth work for over 25 years including roles at YACVic for the past 2 and a half years. His roles at YACVic included Marram Nganyin (we are strong) Aboriginal Youth Mentoring Project Officer, delivered in partnership with Koorie Youth Council (KYC); managed Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) Partners, a state-wide initiative developing opportunities for young LGBTIQ+ Victorians, and the youth sector working with them; and Acting Deputy CEO for YACVic in 2017.

Derm has a strong record of accomplishment of working in rural and regional communities both in his YACVic roles and from his time as rural projects manager for ACON Health in NSW, and as National Manger of Education and Indigenous projects for the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations. Derm has a strong commitment to volunteering and has held a number of governance positions on boards of organisations working with a diversity of communities, in particular young people.

Get in touch with Derm:
Level 2, 235 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9267 3799 or 0408 674 738 or email dryan@yacvic.org.au

Karen Walsh (she/her), Rural Development Coordinator – Great South Coast

Based in Warrnambool, Karen works with young people and service providers all across the region. Karen grew up in this area and has loved coming back to the wild coastal climate and ancient landscapes.

Karen has always worked in the community sector, mostly in regional training and development roles for organisations including the Association of Child Welfare Agencies NSW, Grampians HACC training, Grampians HACC Access and Equity, Warmun Community East Kimberley and most recently for headspace Warrnambool as the Community Awareness and Engagement Coordinator.

Get in touch with Karen at:
Level 2, 210 Timor Street, Warrnambool VIC 3280
Tel: (03) 5561 8819 or email rural.gsc@yacvic.org.au

Brodie Henery (he/him), Rural Development Coordinator – Southern Mallee

Brodie is based in Swan Hill. He is local to the region and has worked in the community services sector for over 10 years, engaging with employment, education and training, youth and mental health support services.

Brodie is passionate about the community and creating opportunities for young people to remain or return to the region. Brodie enjoys spending time with his family and friends and is a massive sports fan.

Get in touch with Brodie at:
50-52 Campbell Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585
Email: rural.sm@yacvic.org.au


Find the full YACVic contact details here.