In a year where we continued to navigate through COVID, staff shortages and then the re-opening of our Western Australian border we are pleased to be able to celebrate and share the following highlights.
The Y WA has been a part of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder community for over 100 years now, since the establishment of the Eastern Goldfields YMCA in 1902. Our Kalgoorlie Early Learning Centre provided an opportunity for the Y WA to expand our offering within the mining town, which already had strong brand presence through the Y WA Recreation Centre, Outside School Hours Care service, and Youth Services programs.
The choice of Kalgoorlie was an important one, as demand for childcare in the town often exceeded available supply. It provided an opportunity for the Y WA to follow through on their mission to bring quality early years care and learning to a regional audience in need.
Centrally located the carefully designed ELC features a central piazza, where children are able to engage in learning experience together across age groups, an outdoor natural playground, and parent lounge. The centre can accommodate up to 92 children ages six weeks to five years.
The centre was officially opened with a ceremony on November 12th, 2021, with attendance from CEO Dr Tim McDonald, City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Deputy Mayor Glen Wilson, State Member for Kalgoorlie Ali Kent MLA, and local elder Gary Cooper.
In March 2022, the Y WA opened another centre in the rapidly developing suburb of Brabham, situated to the north-east of the Perth metropolitan region. Brabham is rapidly growing and populated by many working families with young children, making it an ideal choice for the Y WA’s next early learning centre. Waitlist for the service eclipsed available spaces well ahead of completion, underscoring the strong demand for quality care in the area.
The centre encompasses an open plan design, with a central piazza, atelier room and nature playground outside. It also features a beautiful custom artwork, ‘Blossoms’, by local artist Leanne Bray on its exterior walls. The piece pays homage to the local Marriage Gum tree and its blossoms, likening them to the budding young minds who attend.
Our Brabham Early Learning Centre celebrated its official opening on March 25th, 2022 with a ceremony and family open day. The centre can accommodate up to 82 children.
The Baldivis Early Learning Centre opened its doors in April 2022. The centre is located on an expansive one-acre site, in easy proximity to several local housing estates. The centre is surrounded on all sides by beautiful tranquil bushland and birdsong, and backs onto a beautiful wetlands environment, providing ample opportunities for its attendees to engage with nature.
The centre has been designed to provide a welcoming, home-like environment where children are able to focus on their learning and school readiness. Facilities include dedicated rooms for each age grouping, two separate outdoor play areas with nature-based play equipment, and a stunning atelier art studio. The centre can accommodate up to 92 children.
The Y is proud to have been selected to support this brand-new school that opened its doors for the first time in Term 1 2022. Riva, in Piara Waters, is a 60-place service and is one of our fastest growing new services.
Kelmscott Primary School is not a new school but having an OSHC onsite was a new opportunity for Kelmscott Primary School. This new service opened in Term 1 2022 and provides Before and After School Care and Vacation Care. Kelmscott is approved for 20 places.
After two years of careful planning and preparation, the Y WA celebrated the opening of its very first school in Mirrabooka in February 2022.
‘The Y Vocational School’ operates as a CARE (Curriculum and Re-engagement in Education) School, offering an alternative schooling approach that assists students who find it difficult to thrive in the mainstream education system.
The school provides a safe and nurturing environment, where students are able to receive the support they need to re-engage with learning and positive school attendance while developing key skills in literacy, numeracy and attaining vocational outcomes. Additional wellbeing classes focus on developing emotional skills, that allow students to learn important skills outside of the traditional curriculum.
Each class is limited to twenty students and paired with a dedicated social worker and teacher. These intentionally low student to staff ratios ensures each student receives personalised attention and support, with additional support available through a clinical psychologist counsellor.
The Y WA has established connections with local businesses to ensure pathways to work experience and apprenticeships for Y Vocational School students.
The school can accommodate up to 80 students across Years 10-12. The Mirrabooka campus is the first of several planned school campuses in WA.
The Y continues to focus our attention and commitment to ensuring the safety of all children and young people we support. This is reflected in our ongoing, regular review of processes and procedures.
Our Safeguarding and Child Protection Incident Report Form now includes a continuous improvement section which enables our Y People to reflect on an incident and consider the continuous improvements that may be needed to policy, procedures, or processes to prevent future re-occurrences.
As a result of the reflection processes, Youth Services staff suggested tools and resources for young people. Youth Services management worked with their teams to develop and implement relevant tools and checklists for Young People to support their mental health.
The Y WA is committed to empowering the young people of WA, and The Y Youth Parliament is one of our many initiatives to do this. It is a wonderful program that centres youth voices and perspectives, through empowering participants to create and debate legislation they write themselves.
The topics are guided entirely by the participants and what issues are of importance to them and is a wonderful way for young people to lead the change they want to see.
The program, which has run for 26 years, has traditionally been a meeting ground for future political minds, and provided insight into the issues concerning today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders.
The program has seen many of its participants go on to work in politics, citing Senator Jordan Steele-John (The Greens), Amy Astill (Councillor for City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder) and Kyle McGinn MLC (Mining and Pastoral Region) as previous participants.
Participants worked in collaboration, forming committees to develop Bills on issues they were passionate about, before debating the legislation in State Parliament. Successful applicants assumed roles in a Youth Parliament, consisting of Members, Ministers and Opposition.
The 2021 Y Youth Parliament featured 59 youth representatives of electorates across the state. Forming committees covering a range of government portfolios, eight bills were presented on diverse topics including First Nations cultural awareness, recycling, higher education reform, and tourism.
Participants had the opportunity to develop their leadership, public speaking, critical thinking and debating skills, as they collaborated with likeminded peers. Former Youth Parliament Coordinator, Taylor Watson explained the difference that Y Youth Parliament can make, stating “We’ve seen real change in legislation come out of the Y Youth Parliament, which is a testament to how brilliant the program is.”
This year saw the establishment of the Youth Advisory Committee to the CEO. In the words of four members of the Youth Advisory Committee on their experience so far:
“The YAC empowers and brings together young people who have diverse perspectives on a range of important issues, through their unique and powerful experiences. It has been a privilege to be involved with such a fantastic group of young people and I am excited to see the difference the YAC will continue to make both within the Y and the broader WA community.” – Callum Lindsay
“I am proud of the vision the YAC has collectively set, and our integral place in driving the Y WA’s mission to help young people grow”. – Samuel Carter
“Working with the YAC has been amazing so far, the collaboration and judgement free conversations have really enabled me to feel comfortable about expressing what is important for myself and the young people I know”. – Madieson O’Mara
“I am looking forward to working with a wonderful group of people who want to create meaningful change”. – Zoe Wallin
Sweet Oblivion was able to host a special edition show and partner with the drummer from HeySoHungry, Mahaan, to participate in the ‘World’s Greatest Shave’.
Mahaan had very healthy, thick shoulder length hair and was shaving it all off. His band collaborated with the Youth Events Officer and raised a large sum of money to donate.
Having the Sweet Oblivion funding to cover the venue costs was extremely helpful for Mahaan and gave him a chance to do something that meant a lot to him and his peers.
Mahaan does miss his long hair!
In a year where we have navigated through COVID, significant staff shortages and the re-opening of our Western Australian border we have continued to see an outstanding response from our team in response to what has been a rapidly changing environment over the last year.
Our teams have demonstrated their resilience and flexibility as they have been asked to comply with changing requirements such as mask wearing and vaccination mandates.
They have responded by taking these changes in their stride while continuing to provide an excellent level of service to our children and young people – modifying services as required to meet the different restrictions and needs. The impact of this has been the continued delivery of a high standard of service to our children and young people, their families and our community.
We are incredibly proud of how our Y People have responded during this time and thank them for their contribution throughout the year.