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A Yarn about YAC

ZAKELLI XIE IS A 14-YEAR-OLD Top Ender of many talents. He plays table tennis professionally after picking up the racquet at the age of eight, and has played piano even longer. 

He’s also on the City of Darwin’s Youth Advisory Committee (aka YAC), which is currently recruiting to give the Top End’s young people a direct voice to Darwin Council. Zakelli had a yarn with us about life and what YAC is all about.

How did you get in to table tennis?
I joined the club with my friends just to play casually, but I only started playing seriously about two years ago when my coach asked me to try out in competitions. From there, I took on more intensive training and have competed in interstate tournaments. 

Why did you get involved with  the YAC?
I really liked the idea of being able to talk directly to Council about how to help young people live better lives.

What issues do you think affect young people in Darwin?
The lack of safe, supervised extra-curricular activities in the evening. This is important because young people need productive activities to participate in, instead of activities driven by them that may cause or get them in trouble.

What opportunities does being in YAC present?
It's given me more opportunities than I first thought. YAC is for people aged 12- 25, so I get to collaborate with a wide variety of people, from high school to uni students and working professionals. 

Being part of YAC lets me meet so many new and amazing people and learn a little about how Darwin is run. Even trying to coordinate fundraising events turns into an adventure with something to learn!

What has the YAC achieved while you’ve been involved?
YAC has done so much in the little time I’ve been here. We got a Darwin representative into the White Ribbon Society, put on two Quiz4Dili events, helped develop an activity about Climate Change targeted at young people, and did the Couch Surfing event for Youth Week.

What would you say to encourage others to join?
YAC is not as intimidating as it seems… There’s plenty of friendship, support, knowledge – and food –  to go around! 

Finally, what’s something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know I enjoy cooking. I look forward to visiting my sister so I can use her oven to bake desserts…
Keen to learn more about YAC or sign up? Head to
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