Picture You in Agriculture’s (PYiA) mission is to put young people in agriculture at the centre of the learning and doing experience and provide genuines opportunities for their voices to be heard and cinsidered. We support others who share our values to to achieve our joint goals. In November 2019 school students from Lake Cargelligo Central School and Wee Waa High School travelled to Sydney as part of The Archibull Prize. Along with attending the awards ceremony and visiting Western Sydney University, the students joined Young Farming Champions (YFC) in a Heywire workshop.
Like our YFC program ABC’s Heywire is a conduit for young people in rural and remote Australia to share and promote their stories and, for the second year running, YFC Meg Rice represented us at the Heywire Gala Dinner.
Heywire puts young Australians at the centre of the conversations that shape their communities and the ABC has been running the program, in partnership with the Australian Government, since 1998.
“The annual Heywire cycle begins with a storytelling competition – open to people aged 16-22, living in regional or rural Australia. Heywire encourages young people to tell stories about their life outside the major cities in text, photo, video or audio format and every ABC regional station selects a winning Heywire Competition entry to represent their part of Australia. The young winners work with ABC staff to produce their story to be featured on ABC Radio and abc.net.au. Heywire stories are renowned for their honesty and for giving us a window on the lives of young people in regional Australia.” says Meg
Regional competition winners attend the Heywire Summit in Canberra where they undertake leadership workshops and meet with members of parliament, government departments and community leaders. The ‘Heywirers’ work together in teams to develop ideas aimed at improving the lives of young people in regional Australia and present their ideas to a panel at Parliament House. The Summit culminates in the Gala Dinner.
“Attending the dinner is a wonderful opportunity to learn about what young people are passionate about, their trials and triumphs and what has made them into the inspiring young leaders they are today,” Meg says.
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose spoke at the Gala Dinner
“Stories have been told in Australia from time immemorial. From the Dreamtime to today, they reflect and shape our culture and identity, they allow us to survive and prosper, they bind our communities together, they attempt to explain the world around us, they express our pain and our joy…Thank you Heywirers for sharing the stories of your life in regional and rural Australia. What we have seen and heard tonight and read and watched on the Heywire site are moving, inspiring, informative stories told from the heart.”
“Ita also spoke about people from the bush being renowned for being stoic and just getting on with the job but how in noisy times like these you sometimes have to grab the microphone when you see the opportunity,” Meg says.
“I think this highlights the synergies between Heywire and YFC. It demonstrates the power of story-telling and the importance of rural and regional Australia.” Meg Rice
37 Heywire winners were chosen from across Australia, describing their worlds from anything to adjusting to a new country to the healing power of the bush. Two stories, in particular, touched Meg. Renae Kretschmer, from Wirrabara, SA described the grief and pain of losing her mother to a heart attack at age 60.
“Mum once asked me “what inspires you?” At the time I probably said some noncommittal comment, but really it was her. My strong, capable mother inspired me in all she did….It took losing Mum to make me realise how special family and a country community is. How they help pull you through your absolute darkest days.”
Tim Martin spoke proudly about being from a fourth generation farming family and the battles against a long drought:
“But I know that if we can stick together we can face any challenge thrown at us. Because as a family we are full of love and laughter — whether it be sharing a story around the dinner table and having a good laugh, or watching one of our favourite TV shows together. I want to follow in Dad’s footsteps and keep the farming legacy going in our family, because I love being the son of a farmer. Maybe one day I’ll be a farmer myself and I’ll keep the farm in the family for a fifth generation.”
Congratulations to all the winners of the 2020 ABC Heywire competition.