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NT Youth Week

'Be Tru, Be You' – that’s the message for this year’s NT Youth Week – nine days of events celebrating Territorians aged 12-25 and recognising their achievements and passions. It’s also a time to appreciate the diversity and fresh perspectives young minds can bring to the table. There’s no better time to be young in the Top End. 

By Tamara Howie.

NT Youth Week | FRI 13 – SUN 22 APR | 

City of Darwin presents:

Dishing Up Darwin

Young cooks are sharpening their knives ready to tantalise tastebuds for a chance to call themselves the best in Darwin.

Maya Stitfold, 15, has been a whizz in the kitchen for as long as she can remember and is ready to show off her skills in the Dishing Up Darwin cooking competition. Her speciality is desserts, but travelling to her mother’s homeland in India has opened up a world of spices and culinary possibilities.

“I’ve been cooking since I was really young, it’s something I really enjoy and it relaxes me,” she says.

“I’ve also been to so many different places around the world and I’ve got to experience all different types of food.”

Stitfold will battle it out in the kitchen with other young food lovers at the competition in Youth Week. Not only will contenders get to test their skills, industry leaders will be on hand to mentor them along the way and give feedback as judges.

This year the competition is open to two categories – individuals and school teams. Six pairs from school teams will go head to head while six individuals will show what they’re made of. 


Reality Engineers - VR Camp

Virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree filmmaking is set to be the next big thing in the film industry, and there’s a rare chance to learn from the experts in the top end.

Youth Week’s Reality Engineers – VR Camp is giving the next generation of film buffs the opportunity to redesign and perform in a space while learning all about the emerging film technology.

Sarah Hope from Salt Story Studio says the workshops will teach participants all they need to know to create a film and then present it to family and friends. 

“We’re going to give them the scenario that they’re in a small room and there is one tiny door and the walls close in and they have to go through the door and find what’s on the other side,” she says.

Participants will create the storyline and Hope will give them different tools each day to build the film. 

“The tools will be technical things like lighting and sound, or it might be physical things like objects and costumes,” she says. 

"The possibilities are endless with VR."

It’s a great time for young people to get involved as the exciting new technology is still in its early stages.

“I think we’re very much in the pioneering stage of VR,” Hope says.

“It’s an exciting time to be getting into it because it is so new, but developed enough that we can experiment and be really creative."


Street Heat – The Third

Got your eye on the 2020 Olympics? See if you’ve got what it takes at the Top End’s annual street heat skate competition.

Not only is the comp great prep for the Olympics, it’s also an action-packed day with spray paint workshops, food vans and, for the first time, live music.

Music programmer Ryan Gosper, 18, says there will be a chilled out vibe with some talented local live acts – including himself – as the soundtrack for the skaters.

“I would describe the music as like Boho fashion but in a music format,” he says.

“The way that fashion looks is how the music of Kyle Maher and Casey Jane sounds. Chilled out and comfortable, that’s the vibe we’re going for.”

City of Darwin skate development officer Hannah Illingworth says Street  Heat is open to skaters of all skills and styles and worth getting involved just for fun.

“We’ll have our pre-heat jam on Friday night at Leanyer and Saturday is  our big competition for all divisions – scooter, BMX, quad and skateboard.” 

Illingworth says the skate community in Darwin is supportive all year round and encourages everyone to head down and get involved.

“Skating attracts people who are individual, unique characters and people want to support each other do their own things – it’s a really nice space,”  she says.

SAT 14 APR | 3-7PM | JINGILI WATER GARDENS SKATE PARK | FREE | See the event listing

Couch Surfing on Youth Homelessness Matters Day

One of the luxuries in life many young people don’t have to worry about is where they’ll rest their head at night. 

But the harsh reality is, almost 4000 Territorians aged between 12-24 don’t have a stable and safe place to sleep each night, either living in over-crowded accommodation, couch surfing between houses or sleeping rough. More than half of homeless Territorians are under 24 years old. 

Anglicare NT has a wide range of support services for young people who find themselves without a stable home. They asked one of their clients to share a bit about their situation to illustrate youth homelessness is more than just statistics.

Can you share a bit about your experience being homeless in Darwin? 
I became homeless late last year when my step-dad didn’t let me stay at home with the rest of my family, including my mum and siblings. I also had just found out that I was pregnant which was big and scary news for me.

I felt terrible and helpless when he kicked me out and instead of being able to be overcome with joy in having a baby I was overcome with unhappiness. It was a really tough time for me.

What are some of the challenges you've faced and how have you overcome them? 
My main challenge since getting kicked out of my family home has been feeling isolated from my mum and siblings and having to sneak around to see them. It’s been hard to be pregnant and not have my mum close by and friends treat me differently because they think I can’t do fun things anymore. Feeling lonely has been, and still is, a big challenge for me. 

I have overcome these challenges by thinking about how other people have had strength to overcome similar if not worse things. I have realised that there’s no point sitting around being sad and I have to accept the reality and be positive. I look forward to the happy times where I get to see my family and spend time with friends and do stuff. 

What would you like people to know about young people in your situation? 
I would want people to know that I didn’t have a choice in my situation; it’s tough to not know where you are going to live. Every day I wish this didn’t happen to me but you have to just deal with it.

I think people should know that it’s important to ask for help when you’re in a tough situation; either ask for help from services or family and friends. I’m lucky that I have supports around me. 

How has Anglicare NT helped you? 
Anglicare NT has helped me a lot; they have given me a place to live when I really needed it. The workers check in on me to see how I’m going. They’ve given me new experiences like inviting me to Parliament House for International Women’s Day where I met and spoke with Chief Minister Michael Gunner and lots of other interesting people – it really meant a lot to me. I’m also part of the Pandanus Child Birth Education Program through Anglicare NT. It’s a really good program because I get to learn more about pregnancy and what to expect when my baby is born. I’ve also met lots of other young pregnant women. 

For the past six years Anglicare and the City of Darwin have held a couch surfing race to raise public awareness of the extent and impact of the issue, and to celebrate the resilience of the young people affected. The annual race, which sees old couches transformed into speed-lounges on wheels, is often a highlight on the Youth Week calendar on Youth Homelessness Matters Day.

Youth Week Couchsurfing | WED 18 APR | 10.30AM-3PM | DARWIN CITY CENTRE | FREE | See the event listing

Youth Homelessness Matters Day | WED 18 APR |


Want to know what’s happening, while it’s happening?

The City of Darwin’s LAUNCHmedia team will be on the ground at all events and giving updates through Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Keep an eye out for the six social media legends covering the events on the ground.

The offcial hashtag for NT Youth Week is #ntyw18, but catch all the action on #launchmedia #launchdarwin #youngdarwin and #vibrantdarwin – don’t forget to share your experiences using the same tags.

Tag #otlmag and Off The Leash will feature the best pics in our May edition.


Meet three NT Youth Week Ambassadors 

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