Panel to focus on young people

2 July 2013

WELL-known Beechworth social entrepreneur and community leader Matt Pfahlert will host a discussion panel on the topic of young people before this year’s Kerferd Oration.

Matt will facilitate the discussion on issues affecting young people in Indigo Shire in the context of the saying “It takes a whole community to raise a child” and asks how do we fare in Indigo? Panel members are Indigo Shire Council’s General Manager Sustainable Communities Mark Florence, Principal of Rutherglen High School Phil Rogers and President of Beechworth, District Chamber of Commerce and Industry Darren Carr as well as Chris Pianto representing young people.

The Principal Commissioner for the Commission for Children and Young People, Mr Bernie Geary OAM, will deliver the oration in Beechworth later this month on Young people: A Resource We Need. Mr Geary’s oration will link with a research project in Beechworth investigating how young people make a life for themselves after school and their need to make meaningful connections in their community.

Chair of the Kerferd Oration Committee Ms Joan Simms said Matt Pfahlert is well-placed to facilitate the lead-in event. “Matt is recognised as a social entrepreneur and community leader across Australia. In 1993 at age 24, Matt founded the Typo Station youth project (now called Evolve) where he was CEO for 11 years. Using outdoor wilderness experiences, this project focussed on life skills and personal growth for young people falling out of the school system. Evolve now employs over 30 full time staff and is currently expanding nationally,” Ms Simms said.

“Matt has received a number of awards including the Sir Weary Dunlop ‘Young Australian of the Year’ Extraordinary Achievement Award, 1996; Rotary International — Paul Harris Fellow, 2003 and Leadership Victoria — (Fellows) Community Leader of the Year, 2004. Matt now operates his own business, Social Enterprise Unlimited, which helps develop commercially successful businesses designed to solve social and environmental issues.”

Ms Simms said the lead-in event and the Kerferd Oration would provide a greater understanding of the issues young people face today as they make that transition from school to community and workforce. It is being held on Thursday 18 July at the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre from 6pm to 7.30pm, followed by a free dinner. For catering purposes please contact Ms Simms on 0409 206 079, 03 5728 2747 or email

The Kerferd Oration is at 11am on Sunday 28 July at Baarmutha Park Function Centre in Beechworth. It is a free community event.


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