By the time February was upon us, the PYM project team had molded the Youth Jury project from a theoretical concept into a realistic, substantial operation. The PYM project has acquired a plentiful team of motivated workers, identified key tasks that need to be completed for the project to be a success and have begun developing relationships with significant Parramatta community stakeholders. The team has progressed in their Harmony Day arrangements, successfully constructed a website for the project and learnt from continued expert assistance from volunteers throughout Australia and the United Kingdom who are supporting the PYM project team.
PYM and Stakeholders
The PYM project team strongly believes that the most important information for the jury deliberations will be the information gathered by community stakeholders and the general community. Therefore, from the birth of the project and especially in the last few months, the fostering of relationships with key stakeholders has been a top priority. Numerous amounts of information including surveys, project overviews and information regarding DIMIA's Living in Harmony Day have been regularly forwarded to stakeholders. The overall response thus far has been very positive. The majority of stakeholders showed an encouraging enthusiasm for the project and demonstrated a willingness to become involved.
PYM Stakeholder Presentation
Parramatta stakeholders' enthusiasm for the project culminated in a successful stakeholder presentation whereby the PYM project team made a presentation about the project to all interested stakeholders on March 5th. This presentation had the dual aims of informing the community stakeholders of upcoming events (particularly Harmony Day) and seeking their ideas on the Youth Jury process. With fifteen stakeholders in attendance, Christopher Sargant gave a PowerPoint presentation, which outlined the history of Youth Juries, outlined where the project had progressed to, what was to come in the future and how stakeholders may become further involved. Such involvement might include participating in the Steering Committee, to communicating ideas via the website/email, and attending the Youth Jury in July.
PYM and Parramatta Youth
Youth Jury participation forms have been formed for distribution in the near future and the principles for the selection of jurors have been drafted. Furthermore, as a result of our presentation, the Youth Jury Steering Committee has recruited more members and schools in Parramatta have opened themselves up so as allow members of the PYM project team to address their students about the Youth Jury, hand out Youth Jury Participation Forms and Youth Opinion Surveys. To date, an encouraging amount of surveys have already been returned from community stakeholders
A PYM sub-committee team is currently overseeing the logistical operations for Harmony Day. Activities have ranged from liaison with Parramatta City Council, DIMIA and goods & services providers, to implementing a promotional campaign, including posters, T-shirts and a banner, and ensuring the smooth running of the day's program. The day promises to be a successful one, with loads of food and fun to go around for everyone to enjoy!
The Youth Jury
The required roles required for the Youth Jury to run have been fleshed out, including roles such as Facilitator, Catering Coordinator and Juror Transport Coordinator. Also, directions for the course of the pre-Youth Jury meetings have also been drafted. These meetings, it was decided would present the jurors with the opportunity to build trust between themselves and other jurors and also with the PYM project team. The team views the meetings as serving as a way to promote a relaxed and fun environment for the jurors so that they do not feel that they are in for a stereotypical boring political consultation. In addition, these meetings will encourage the jurors to identify the issues for discussion during the Youth Jury, identify what expert witnesses are required for adding new thoughts to the issues, along with teaching the jurors about team work and deliberative democratic principles. Most importantly these meetings will allow the jurors to work together to decide upon ways that they would like the course of the Youth Jury to go. This will allow the Youth Jury to be dedicated solely towards deliberations.