Being in a room of over a hundred other young, like-minded people is pretty cool in itself. But then if you add in inspiration from speakers, and confidence gained from a range of workshops, you find yourself amidst a group where you can feel the energy buzzing from each and every person, and it would be hard to not feel empowered. If there’s one thing I feel after the AYCC’s recent Repower Summit, that’s it. Empowered. I suppose the summit was quite suitably named – apart from ‘Repower’ being the name of our previous campaign, it really is like the AYCC and every person within it has been ‘repowered’ and filled with endless amounts of energy and enthusiasm to get the message out there.
As well as a lot of fun and motivation, the Repower Summit saw the planning of the AYCC’s next campaign: Youth Decide, where all young Australians have the chance to vote on the renewable energy target they believe we should be aiming for (“…100% renewable, it’s so doable!”). I, myself, have the pleasure of being in the Victorian Outreach team. If I was to just tell you our goals and responsibilities, it probably wouldn’t seem too appealing. As the outreach team, our goal is to call up all the schools, universities, and local youth bases in Victoria, and try to get them to run a Youth Decide voting event (which are really easy to hold because all the voting is online – all that’s required is a laptop, and maybe some free food). We are still in the early stages, but in true AYCC fashion, what could be seen as a monotonous task has somehow become something I look forward to immensely. I walk into the office and am instantly greeted by smiling faces, several varieties of tea, and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s easy to forget that we’re ‘working’ because we have so much fun while doing it. For example, the other day I called a school and said, “Hi, this is Joel from the AYCC” because that’s what the script said. My name is not Joel. Oops? (I actually didn’t tell anybody about that one yet but I did have a little chuckle to myself.)
At times it really has felt like we have no hope. In the past I’ve often found myself thinking hopeless thoughts like “Who are we to change the world?” but it is these thoughts that hold us back the most. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved laying on the grass, making little towns and houses for ants, and eating mudcakes (and by mudcakes I mean the ones made of dirt, not chocolatey goodness). While I had such a huge appreciation for nature, I was aware that the natural world I loved was being destroyed and I knew we were partially (if not completely) responsible, but I never felt like I could do anything about it. I never felt like anyone could do anything about it. However, since getting involved with a couple of Repower events and attending the summit, I’ve met so many people with the same dreams and visions as me, and I’ve been struck by the inspiring truth that we can (and will!) make a difference.
Written by AYCC VIC volunteer, Georgia Carapetis