It wasn’t that long ago when young people growing up in Macarthur and South West Sydney would complain that “there’s nothing to do around here’’.
This was not something the adults running things could easily dismiss because by and large it was true.
For those in their early teens, organised sport such as tennis and cricket in summer or football in winter was all that was available in the so called “good old days’’ which were anything but if you were young and growing up around here.
Once they turned 19 or 19 and up to the age of 25, well, the Campbelltown Catholic Club was the place to be on Friday and Saturday nights.
That was after they spent a couple of hours in Macarthur Square.
Happily, things have changed for the better in the past 20 years.
One of the reasons has been proactive local councils providing a host of activities, both physical and social, for our young people.
But it’s not just about the activity; it’s also about meeting new people and making friends, too.
For example, currently young Camden residents are being encouraged to lace up their running shoes and get active with two exciting sporting opportunities offered as part of council’s youth empowerment project.
One is StreetgYm, held every Tuesday, 3.30pm to 5.30pm, at Birriwa Outdoor Youth Space, Mount Annan.
This program youths aged 12 to 18 with the opportunity to get active and speak with YMCA NSW youth workers, volunteers and local community leaders in a safe space.
The second is late night basketball on the last Friday of each month, 9pm to midnight at Mount Annan Leisure Centre.
This healthy competition is designed to help young people aged 16 to 25 meet peers and develop their sports skills.
It includes full court basketball games, three on three matches, three point shootouts and dunk contests.
Camden Council runs and supports other physical activities for young residents, including skateboarding clinics at Kirkham Skate Park, female wellness programs and youth boot camp at Mount Annan Leisure Centre and school holiday and youth week programs.
“We have more than 16,000 residents aged between 12 and 25 years old in Camden – more than 20 per cent of the population,” says the Mayor of Camden, Cr Theresa Fedeli.
“We want each and every one of our young residents to have the opportunity to come together in safe, supported and inclusive environments, to be supported to become active change makers for Camden, to celebrate and embrace our differences and to be able to discuss and find help for issues affecting them, like mental health.”