Youth Advisory Group (YAG)

1. Overview

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The Youth Advisory Group is now in session for 2022!

We have a new group of young people leading our Youth Advisory Group! Find out more about what we’re up to here.


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The Youth Advisory Group (YAG) are a group of diverse young people from across the Yarra Ranges who work with Council and within the community to ensure young people’s voices are heard. Our seventeen wonderful members have a vast range of experiences and outlooks. We want to support and advocate for people from all walks of life, to make sure feel they have someone representing them and their interests in projects, policies and planning.

We act as an advisory role, bringing young voices into decision making spaces. We advocate for and promote positive change in the community.

Current projects we are working on include a youth survey for the Yarra Ranges region.   


Phone: (03) 9294 6716


Louise Grant, Youth Development Officer

2. Our Values

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Each term, the Youth Advisory Group create our own values, which reflect the ethos of each member and iteration of the group.

The 2022 YAG values are:


Our role is to give a voice to those who otherwise feel voiceless. To help young people feel listened to and create active change. We not only speak up for young people, but we also listen. This is true advocacy.

Team work 

We respect the different ways people communicate. We work together to ensure everyone feels heard, understood and validated. We also keep in perspective the team’s direction, and that YAG has a purpose and tasks we can all contribute to. 

Inclusivity through mutual respect

Kindness and empathy above all else. We are an accepting and welcoming voice for the community; a space full of positivity and fun that welcomes all.  Our group is a culmination of life experiences, ages, genders and cultures. We are respectful of different backgrounds and opinions, encouraging an openness to growth and learning in the Youth Advisory Group, and in our community 

Confidentiality and trust

As representatives of youth voice and our community, we trust that not only our experiences remain confidential with those we consult with. We also want to embed a sense of trust with the broader community – that they can trust us with information to help advocate for them. 

3. Have your voice heard! Get in touch

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Otherwise if you have any concerns or comments you can contact us directly through email at or by phone on (03) 9294 6716.

4. Current projects

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August 2022

August was a busy month! We've helped put together a video for Victorian Youth Fest - which will be launched in September 2022. It highlights the experiences, challenges and strengths of young people in the Yarra Ranges. YAG members, Charley and Fionn, featured on the Council Connections show on Yarra Valley FM and Tyrell helped Council raise the Pride flag for the first time on Wear it Purple Day!

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We provided two major consultations to Council - one on the impacts of the COVID pandemic on young people, and how Council can better reach and understand young people's experiences. Our feedback often included how to listen authentically,  be accessible and invest in young people's time.

Finally, we had a large meeting with Yarra Ranges Councillors, including Mayor Child, Deputy Mayor Skelton, Cr Todorov, Cr Heenan and Cr Fullagar. Discussions centred around the major issues young people are facing, including public transport, mental health, and employment, as well as the strengths we bring to the community.

July 2022

After a small hiatus, we consulted on the planned revamp of the South Belgrave Recreation Reserve, providing advice on how to better engage young people on future designs.

We’ve been finishing up some of the communications content, social media and starting to think about how we consult with a wider group of young people to ensure diverse voices in Council.

June 2022

We had our first few meetings in June, where we got to know each other and started connecting, collaborating and digging our teeth into the real issues effecting people just like us. Suffice to say, we are a very engaged and excited team aiming to improve the Yarra Ranges one bit at a time!

5. Past projects and previous YAGs

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Image description: Thirteen of the Youth Advisory Group members stand side-by-side in front of trees

The 2021 YAG was a pilot project, running between June and December 2021 – although we had additional meetings in 2022 due to demand for youth voice and consultations across Council!


Over our term, we provided consultations to a variety of teams at Council, including the Bushlands, Community Development and Biodiversity teams, amongst others. We also had opportunities to give input on major strategic plans and policies, including the Housing Strategy, Lilydale Structure Plan, and the future of a Lilydale Community Hub.

YAG members also met directly with several Councillors, including the Mayor, as well as executives and various teams at Council.

Major project

The YAG played a pivotal role in the initiation of the Indigenous Story-Finding Project. Throughout July and August 2021, the YAG provided advice on young people’s experiences of Lilydale. The YAG identified that strengthening young people’s sense of belonging and connection to Lilydale through an Indigenous lead storytelling process would lead to a perceived increase in health and wellbeing outcomes for young people.

Council took YAG’s suggested and developed a short research project, which aimed to collect stories of Indigenous heritage and culture in the Lilydale area. YAG members, along with the Indigenous and Strategic Planning team at Council , presented the Indigenous Story-finding project proposal to the Lilydale Urban Revitalisation Board in November 2021, securing a grant for $100,000 for the project, which is currently underway at Council


Other projects

The YAG undertook several projects, including creating communication content, a YAG logo, and a youth survey. YAG members also participated in other significant opportunities, including monthly presentations on Yarra Valley FM, officially sitting on the Lilydale Revitalisation Board, and presentations to network meetings.


Our values

Each term, the Youth Advisory Group create our own values, which reflect the ethos of each member and iteration of the group.

2021 YAG values:

Trust: Giving the young people of our community a group that they can trust and rely on.

Acceptance: Ensuring that everyone we interact with and involve in our projects feel accepted.

Respect: Maintaining respect for all regardless of opinions or identity.

Empathy: Keeping kindness at the forefront of everything we say and do.

Communication: Being clear and maintaining a strong line of communication with our community and each other.


Members of the 2021 YAG:

  • Amy Wahrenberger
  • Arienne Smith
  • Caitlin Kanicky
  • Elise Riley
  • Emily Mancell
  • Emma Peel
  • Fin Upham
  • Bee Elderhurst
  • Jessica While
  • Joel Makk
  • Kelsey Haigh
  • Matthew Kearsley
  • Mitchell Edwards
  • Nikita Aldridge
  • Razz Wallace-Smith


6. The story behind our logo

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We created a logo that allows the background artwork to change. We are hoping to have young people contribute to our work and tell their stories through the artwork. We are still developing this process, so watch this space!

In the meantime, the artwork was created by one of our YAG members, Jessy, to reflect an aspect of the Yarra Ranges region that we love the most – the beautiful natural environment.