Youth Services

Known locally as MacYouth, MacDonnell Regional Council Youth Services deliver an Outside School Hours Learning Program (OSHLP) for 5 – 12 year olds and a Youth program for young people between the ages of 12 – 25 years living in remote Aboriginal communities. MacYouth delivers varied and innovative activities under the pillars of Sport and Recreation, Leadership and Culture Jobs, Education and Training Safety and Diversion, and Staff Development.

Our aim is to progress Aboriginal people into roles of leadership, to facilitate culturally relevant and engaging youth programs, and contribute to sustainable workplace development. MacYouth works in partnership with many other agencies, stakeholders, and community members to provide young people with improved life choices and opportunities.

MacYouth is spread across central Australia, providing programs in diverse language groups. The main language groups are Luritja, Pintubi, Pitjanjatjarra, Eastern Arrernte and Western Arrernte, each community with different cultural practices and beliefs. Young people living in these communities face different challenges and don’t always have the same opportunities young people have living in cities, regional areas and rural towns. The population of young people in remote communities is growing faster than any other demographic in Australia and it is vital that youth programs are adaptive to the needs of the young people in their unique communities. Working with young Anangu (the people of Central Australia) is a great opportunity for cross-cultural exchange and shared learning. 

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MacYouth Program Pillars


Sport and Recreation

MacYouth provides structured physical and socially interactive sporting activities, events, and competitions. We involve community participation and encourage community management of sport and recreational activities. Activities are designed to nurture self-esteem, develop skills through accredited training and provide pathways to improved health and well-being.

Leadership and Culture

MacYouth nurtures the initiatives and ambitions of young Aboriginal people by supporting them to take on leadership roles and supporting strong relationships with elders. Working in a culturally appropriate context with identified leaders, programs such as youth boards, governance and leadership training aim to engage young Aboriginal people in decision-making in their communities.

Safety and Diversion

MacYouth aims to achieve improved health, social and emotional well-being for Indigenous young people through our safety and diversion activities. We do this by modelling safe behaviours and teaching skills that allow young people to develop the tools and strategies for making positive choices. MacYouth provide targeted youth diversion programs for young people at risk of entering or re-entering the criminal justice system and support provision of improved pathways for youth returning from juvenile detention, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

Jobs, Education and Training

MacYouth supports young people with their education, finishing school and learning skills to improve their employment opportunities. We support school attendance, re-engagement in education and support individuals with job seeking.

Staff Development

MacYouth aims to see local Indigenous youth workers move into leadership roles within their communities and the wider Council. MacYouth employ local Youth Service Officers and provide training opportunities enabling progression into higher duties, roles and responsibilities, so they can facilitate and manage programs.