“Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass”.

Today’s guest blogger is Jack Piggott

Jack is currently at Bond University studying degrees in Law (LLB) and Biomedial Science (BBioMedSci).

Jack Piggott

I know it is an unusual combination, but it is more complementary that people think and I enjoy it.
I am a passionate voice of youth, and have been involved in many projects and initiatives to that effect.

For the last week the Art4agricultureChat has been showcasing the amazing youth initiative that is Heywire

I invited Jack to write a blog because not only is he a previous Heywire winner You can read his winning story here excitingly his team managed to get their “pitch” idea up and running – see footnote

jack Piggott 2

Jack shares his Heywire experience ……….

Wow. A year passes so quickly these days. Back in the good ‘ole days, I used to get a full twelve months, now I’m flat out getting 6 with no change! You see it was this time last year I was hopping on a plane Canberra bound, full of anticipation (and trepidation I must admit) for Heywire. If you’re not familiar with Heywire, go and have a look at their website now. I’m serious, go now!

You’re back! Did you spend the better part of an hour reading, watching and listening to the winner’s stories? I know I did. Why? It’s because Heywire attracts some of the most engaging young storytellers from across the country. And because they are from regional and rural areas, they’re telling stories that we don’t seem to hear a lot of these days. Stories about emergency landings while flying with your father, or about homesickness that you get at boarding school 1000km away from your family and culture, and the quirks of donating blood, real stories by real young people living “outside of capital cities” who don’t often get heard.

But the brilliant thing about Heywire is that it doesn’t just stop there. It gives you the skills and contacts to put ideas into action, and to take that action to the people. And that is something rural youth need; because often we have good ideas, only for them to disappear because we’re too far away from where all the action is.

And it’s that, a disconnect, that lies at the heart of the city – country divide, and alleviating it goes a long way to solving the ‘people’ problems that we face in the sticks. I say ‘people’ problems; what I mean is problems with industry perception, recruitment and political issues.

And why do I think that young people are the best to solve these problems? It’s not merely the fact that the average age of famers (of all breeds) has risen from 44 in 1981 to 53 years in 2011 (and to 60 if you’re a Qld. beef producer!). It’s because youth have the most creative approaches to solving some of the big issues in farming and then they ask the question “why not?” I’m not suggesting that we have all the answers, and we have much to learn from the generations who have done a lot of the hard work.

But we need to be involved in the big decisions that are made in the industry. After all we’re the ones who are going to have to live with it. That’s why we need Heywire and programs like it. To shake things up and take a fresh look! It’s as Noble prize winning poet Maya Angelou observed: I love to see the young go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Footnote

Ideas developed at the 2011 Heywire Youth Issues Forum including Jack’s team were presented to the then Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon as part of the recommendations of a major health conference.
Jack and his team’s Heywire proposal called on the federal government to fund a telephone psychology clinic that would allow people in remote areas to have regular appointments with a qualified mental health provider over the telephone; and access the same provider each time.
“It’s great to see that this conference believes that our idea has merit and that young people can a driving force in health service innovation,” says Jack
The idea was chosen as one of 13 priority recommendations out of nearly 250 submitted to the conference, where mental health was a prominent issue.
“This recommendation presumably stood out because it deals with an issue of undoubted current importance and is detailed and practical,” says Gordon Gregory, Executive Director of the National Rural Health Alliance, which ran the event. “It would provide better continuity of care and confidentiality to people suffering from mental illness in remote areas.”
The conference recommendation reads:
“To increase access to mental health services in rural areas the government should fund a telephone psychology clinic through Medicare. Clients would be referred through pathways that enable them to access existing Medicare rebates (mental health packages). To ensure continuity of care, the patient would be treated by the same qualified mental health professional each time, who would know the particulars of their client, and offer ongoing treatment (as opposed to current telephone services which focus on intervention).”

More details about the Heywirer’s telephone psychology clinic proposal can be found here. And the group’s ‘How to Change a Life’ website can be found here.

Like Jack you too can make a real difference it just requires “two hands, two eyes and a heart.”

Heywire is open for your entries right now – upload them directly to the site. The Heywire competition calls for stories about you and the community where you live.
To enter, visit abc.net.au/heywire

Follow Jack on Twitter  @jackpiggott

Visit his website here http://www.jackpiggott.com/

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