2020-21 Rural Activators to focus on Bushfire Recovery

The 2020-21 YACVic Rural Activators Program will be sponsored by RSPCA Victoria. Activators will work to develop a project to help their local community and build their skills.

Each Activator will receive dedicated support including:

  • Eight half-day training sessions from July to October to develop skills in research, advocacy, policy analysis, project management and communication;
  • Professional networks, leadership experience and development opportunities to enhance your professional knowledge and employability;
  • Access to specialist knowledge related to animal welfare, care and support
  • Undertake reflective and critical thinking;
  • Connect with a suitable external mentor who will support your project;
  • A small stipend (up to $500) to support their activities (Travel, phone, internet, external professional development)

  • $1,000 in seed funding after completing 60% of the program

  •  Internet data and/or dongle to support your participation (if necessary)

Meet this year's Activators

Chris, Combienbar

Chris lives in a small community of only 12 people in Combienbar, 2 hours west of Mallacoota where she is the only young person. There is no mobile reception or internet connection except for a single Telstra phone box.

After the bushfires, Chris joined the YACVic Rural Activators Program through Bushfire Recovery and Red Cross after asking them what was out there for young people.

Her project creates a 'sustainable, abundant environment’ by digging swales - level ditches on contoured land that keep water in the landscape - which are planted with trees to create food and habitat for humans and animals.

Chris is also supporting and promoting an introductory permaculture course to be held in her community, to encourage others to create a sustainable and abundant future.

Jen, Wangaratta

Jen lives on a small hobby farm outside of Wangaratta. Through Activators, she is developing the “We Are Wang” website to create an interactive, online community of young people by sharing photos, recommendations, and the best places to hang out.

“We Are Wang” will provide the Wangaratta community access to all of the ‘top sites’ that Wang and surrounds have to offer, providing a boost to young people’s connection to the community and the local economy.

In addition to having some of the best kept local secrets in swimming holes, parks, cafe’s and many more, We Are Wang will also help young people with pets and wildlife, discussing pet safety, what flora and fauna you can expect to see in the area amongst other topics.

Willow, Bairnsdale

Willow is a recent Year 12 high school leaver who believes animals can significantly improve and support the mental health of young people from bushfire-affected communities. She joined Activators because she believes in young people ability to create change.

Willow wants to promote the ethical adoption of pet animals in her local area through “The Paws Project” where she will be conducting classes and competitions in local primary schools to educate people about puppy farms.

She wants people to understand how to make sure they adopt animals from ethical sources. Willow is being supported by RSPCA Vic Education and Learning staff to develop presentations, activities and competitions to promote the adoption of animals from shelters.


Chloe, Bairnsdale

Chloe is using her skills she gained studying at GippsTAFE in Bairnsdale to launch her project “Furry Friends First Aid ”, which will give young people confidence to care for animals and the community by providing bushfire-affected communities wildlife first-aid kits and training.

She believes that young people are our future and that animals, our health, and our environment are all equally important.

The kits will contain materials for bandaging wounds, instructional materials and videos. Toy animals will be provided in the kits for skills practice. These will be offered to youth centres in the bush fire affected communities, and any other local youth organisations that have an interest in animals.

Chloe believes this is a unique, powerful and important experience that will build their social connection, compassion and provide skills for life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is expected of me? 

You are expected to attend all of the training and development sessions across the second half of the year. These will all be presented online and you will be supported with data and internet dongles to participate if necessary. 

Throughout the program, you will be supported to create a project plan to pitch for development in your local community. 

What skills do I need?

This role would suit most young people, there are no specific expectations around your skills, knowledge or experience.

As long as you've lived in a 2019-20 bushfire-affected community, and are passionate about animal welfare, anyone aged 16 - 25 can apply to take part. 

What skills/knowledge will I develop through this opportunity?

You’ll develop your skills in research, advocacy, policy analysis, project management and communication. You'll also have expand professional networks, and gain leadership experience and development opportunities to enhance your professional knowledge and employability. RSPCA will provide access to specialist knowledge related to animal welfare, care and support.

Applications for the 2020 Rural Young Activators closed in October.

Stories and details of the Activators will come in 2021.

Meet last year's Activators! 

The 2018-19 cohort had 11 Activators in the program. Read more about them below:

Bray — Warrnambool

Bray knows that not all young people receive the same opportunities growing up. That’s why Bray is advocating for greater access to camps and activities that build young people’s resilience.

Bryce — Bacchus Marsh

Bryce has taken a gap year to work solely on his autism advocacy work. Through the Activators program Bryce is looking to scale up his ‘recharge rooms’ so that they are available to more students around Victoria. Recharge rooms are sensory or quiet rooms for all students, including those with autism to take a break and recharge their senses. Check out Bryce’s website to keep up to date with his advocacy.

Catherine and Tierney — Latrobe Valley

Catherine and Tierney’s project, Youth Connect Media, seeks to up-skill young people from the Latrobe Valley through radio. Supporting young people to build their confidence and skills to help boost their employability, Youth Connect Media will work with young people aged 15 to 25 to develop a radio show, podcast, or radio play in 2019. Check out their Facebook page for more info!

Darby — Wangaratta

Darby successfully facilitated an LGBTIQ+ support group at his school called KQ&A (Kings, Queens & Aces). Darby wants to share what he has learn on his journey so that he can help support other rural and regional schools to build and develop their own LGBTIQ+ support groups.

Gab — Ballarat

Gab is a passionate Ballarat resident looking to get more residents to jump on their bike for fun, fitness, and for life. She hopes that more Ballarat residents will ride to work and school.  Gab is currently working with local cyclists to make a series of short films to promote cycling to people in the community.

Josh — Wonthaggi

Josh founded Let’s Life, a program that supports young people  transition from rural to metropolitan Victoria for tertiary education. The program equips young people living in Bass Coast region with the skills and confidence they need when moving to a new area for study.  Let’s Life will provide a network for young people along with accredited training to boost employability. There will also be facilitated trips to Melbourne to orient young people with city life. Stay up to date with the program at the Let’s Life Facebook page and website.

Lachlan — Warrnambool

Becoming an 'adult' can be intimidating and the necessary life skills aren’t always taught to young people in school. 'How to Adult' will bring young people of Warrnambool the chance to learn life skills to help them transition from millennial to adulthood. Stay updated on the project at the How to Adult Facebook page.

Mal — Marlo

Mal knows that there is a problem with bullying in her local community. Mal is advocating for more programs at local high schools to reduce bullying, improve mental health and increase resilience. She is using her time to connect the local headspace centre with a local high school in hopes of improving mental health outreach services. 

Max — Warrnambool

Max hosted Queer Connections — an event about bringing queer communities together to discuss and problem-solve the barriers faced by rural queer communities.  Following the event with local young people and youth workers, Max is pulling together the information to use in their advocacy for a more targeted, place-based, approach to working rural and regional queer communities.

Sarah — Nagambie

Sarah has founded SEAT - Sit, Eat And Talk. It is a program for local Year 6 students to sit down and share conversations over a home cooked meal. SEAT also engages local VCAL students to assist with food preparation, set up, serving, and facilitating conversation with students. Sarah is working in conjunction with the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project on SEAT. Get in touch with the Lighthouse Project to get involved. 

Stacey — Cohuna

Stacey understands what it’s like to grow up in a small town with little to do. Boredom can strike at any second and this can leave young people in the community unengaged and unmotivated to be involved in the community. Stacey is looking at the concept of boredom and advocating for more community engagement programs and mobile youth hubs.

Stay in touch!

Watch this space for updates on the Activators program. Sign up for our newsletters to be the first one to find out when applications open. Interested in finding out more about our Activators? Contact Derm Ryan, YACVic Rural Manager via rural@yacvic.org.au or (03) 0427 464 335.