Gippslandia #10 - Editorial - Safe hands.

Safe hands.

Was it a risk to hand over an edition to our youth? Of course not.

It was only during the penning of this editorial that I wondered, what style writing is typically associated with our young people? Texting or online messaging spring to mind, and mindless graffiti on high school desks.

Well, this issue doesn’t contain any crudely drawn penises or detailed sentences compiled entirely of emojis.

For me, the process of creating the latest edition has been inspiring, motivating and frequently fun. It’s been an enjoyable ride from the moment we posted our call for more young writers and contributors on the Gippslandia Facebook page and were subsequently flooded with talented young people eager to share their passions. Although I’m not sure that regular writer Mim Cook or our Fashion Team had an entirely smooth and carefree experience as they wrangled a motley crew of belligerent toddlers.

As sports fans, we’re hearing a growing discourse that the upcoming generation of superstars is the unhappiest yet. That despite their many millions of dollars, they’re lonelier, more isolated and less prepared for adversity than any generation previous — all while still playing a team sport. Some of the early diagnoses highlight the fact that many of them have been told they’re ‘unique snowflakes’ and praised excessively since they first began competing, making them even less prepared for the intense criticism that comes from our now 24-hour news cycle. We, pundits, have even easier access to sportspeople through social media, making personalised attacks a cinch. Finally, many players come to the game, warm up and leave with headphones on — travelling to every game with headphones on — contained in a tiny world that consists of the small screen on their phones in front of them and the sound vibrating directly in their ears. Some would have you believe that these traits aren’t isolated to superstars, but are echoed by many millennials.

The youth involved in this edition stomp all over that idea.

We’ve barely changed anything from the original stories that were pitched to us by these young creatives. These are their passions, projects, opinions and concerns. We’ve only acted as a vessel, standing back to let them deliver on their intentions.

It’s been an energising experience, and I’m excited to hand this edition over to you.

I frequently wish that I could get this paper into the hands of more of our municipal, business and community leaders. Heck, let’s get it to the Lodge, so we can hand-deliver it to the Prime Minister. My motivation for this is that the insights contained in these pages can inspire positive change, and in #10 our writers emphasised this more than ever. They’ve got ideas and experiences that should be heard and appreciated because if you can harness their energy, our region will be all the better for it.

The stories between our covers can provide an understanding of the conflict that many of our young people feel in leaving their hometowns. They all speak fondly of Gippsland, and many of them long for the day that there will be more suitable career opportunities here for them to return to. The combination of new technologies for remote working and an innovative solution that revitalises the economy may provide the fertile ground for more homecomings quicker than we think. Our young business mavens interviewed in this edition believe that time is already here.

Think of the talent and passion that could course through our towns if we could nurture more of their skills here or encourage them to return earlier.

A common theme when working on Gippslandia is that so many of the people involved wanted, or needed, to see someone like them doing their project first. As Matilda Lappin of The Bee and The Spider more viscerally illustrated, “You imagine a successful businessperson to be a big, faceless, middle-aged man smoking cigars. Maybe if we saw more younger faces in business, it’d be easier for young people to picture themselves that way too”. Can we uphold our side of the bargain and create an environment that encourages a larger diversity of people to succeed, especially our youth?

A hearty ‘thank you’ to Cheffields Providore for assisting us on the distribution of Gippslandia #10 throughout Gippsland.

Youth is not wasted on the young. We’re in safe hands.

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