Engage Program


1. Overview

Our Engage Program aims to work in partnership with young people and the community to increase young people’s confidence and ability to make decisions for and with their community. It also aims to increase young people’s wellbeing, access to employment and training and mental health services.

The program responds dynamically to young people’s needs, as expressed through recent youth specific consultations.

Click through our table of contents (above) to view our programs. 

2. Indigo Shire Youth Ambassadors Program

Our annual Youth Ambassadors program, brought together twenty-two Year 5 students who are passionate about creating positive change in their local community. This group of young leaders, representing Wahgunyah PS, St Mary's Rutherglen PS, Middle Indigo PS, Osbornes Flat PS, Wooragee PS, Chiltern PS, Yackandandah PS, Beechworth PS, Beechworth Montessori, Rutherglen PS and St. Joseph’s Beechworth PS, joined this 6-week program held in Yackandandah, Chiltern and Beechworth to work on communication, values, mental health, asset mapping, project management and public speaking. 

This group of ambassadors was given the opportunity to become the youth voice representing their community, gain skills and mentoring in leadership and have a say about the future of their community becoming agents of positive change. 

Sessions were a combination of leadership, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, as well as weekly guest speakers. Facilitated by the Director of The Mandala Project, Anthony Nicholson, the program concluded with participants presenting to Indigo Shire Mayor, Deputy mayor, three Councillors and members of the community on each of the areas covered. 

The program also included a fundraising component in which the ambassadors of each school organised an activity to raise funds for a cause close to their hearts. This year's program ran for 4.5 hours each Tuesday from 11 October to 22 November. 

This program will be part of our 2023 Engage! grant work plan. 


3. Shaping Ourselves Program

A five-week program, for twelve Kiewa Valley Primary School and Upper Sandy Creek Primary School students.

The program aimed to provide young people with tools to face body image challenges, explore ways to cope with a changing body and introduced participants to new ways of expressing themselves.
While they got to bond with students from a different school as well as their classmates, participants experienced positive interactions with peers. The program promoted mechanisms to help young people speak their minds in healthy ways while providing a framework for them to identify, understand and accept their emotions.

In 2022, this program started on August 23th running for 4 consecutive weeks.



LGBQTQIA+ support group

In 2016, Indigo Shire Council established a LGBQTQIA+ support group called Rainbow Connection, providing support for isolated rural Same Sex Attracted and Gender Diverse young people. Its aim was to provide participants with connection to local support services, provide a safe place where young people can get together and enjoy organised activities and events. In 2022, local high schools are running their own groups, the Umbrella Academy and the Rutherglen Rainbow Renegades in Beechworth and Rutherglen respectively. Indigo Shire is currently supporting local high schools in their awesome LGBTQIA+ activities.

Please call or text 0427 037 594 for more information on active support groups.  

North East Pride Collective and The Rainbow Ball

The NEPC's vision is about celebrating and respecting individuality and inclusion for diverse identities within the LGBTIQA+ community.
Our primary goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment, including the Rainbow Ball, for our youth to thrive. The Rainbow Ball, created in 2019 in Indigo Shire, broke down many a flood gate of previously silent support, turned into real and public action.

In 2022, the Rainbow Ball was held in Benalla Town Hall on Saturday 25 June. 
The Ball's 2023 edition will be held in the Rural City of Wangaratta. 


DRAGGED Out Festival

Local Beechworth pubs, The Empire and The Nicholas created a colourful pride event in November 2022. 

The Youth Camp Street Party was held Friday 18 November, and brought together young people from all across North East Victoria. 

Disco, art making activities, performances and fun and educational games facilitated by CERSH were enjoyed by over 70 LGTBIQA+ young people and allies. 

Drag'd Out 2023 dates will be available here shortly.  

5. Empowering Girls Program

A 12-week psychosocial wellbeing and physical development program offered to 20 girls from Indigo Shire aged 12-14. Facilitated by Dannielle Bell and Katja Schoenfelder from the Dragonfly Project, the program aims to empower young girls as they journey into womanhood.

The program focused on three key areas:

1. Developing a strong and unwavering connection to self.
2. Generating positive, healthy relationships with their bodies.
3. Creating empowering relationships with others by exploring key factors of empathy, trust and communication.

The program aimed to nurture their unique gifts and talents, breaking through limiting beliefs and patterns, developing authentic confidence, and connecting with their body through joyful movement and yoga in positive healthy ways. The girls developed tools to self-regulate emotions, build their capacity to respond to challenges and create healthy, supportive relationships that generate a sense of belonging. 

In 2022, this program ran from 30 May until 29 August 29.