Henna, Paint and Sumo Suits

May 12, 2014

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This year Interchange Outer East hosted a National Youth Week event in the car park of our own premises in the Yose Street, Ferntree Gully. Budget restrictions meant that it wouldn’t be as large as previous years, however we still wanted to be able to provide the community, and particularly youth, with a fun event in a safe and contained atmosphere. Yose Street turned out to be a perfect choice, as all of the activities and stalls  fitted perfectly in the provided space.

Local youth music, information from local youth services, and the all in paint fight were yet again included in this year’s event. For the young IOE volunteer organisers of the event, these seem to be the most important part of the theme, and a natural expectation. This year they included some exciting new stalls, including an Indian food stall with free food for all to try; fairy floss provided by the local scouts club; a huge gladiator bouncy castle; an inflatable twister game; sumo suits; a games room with a Wii and a selection of games to play; a young IOE designer (Jess Bakker) with her handmade bracelets; and a henna artist, providing free henna to everyone.

Even though the event started at 4pm, people started arriving before the gates opened, giving them an opportunity to register their interest in IOE’s volunteer program and to collect information from local youth services, Headspace and Knox Youth Services. Each of the young event organisers managed a stall or an activity giving people the chance to get involved in anything that took their interest at the event.

A real highlight for the attendees was the Indian food stall that provided amazing Indian food free of charge. The other highlight was the free Henna stall with their creative henna designs. The crowds chilled out to the local music and chatted amongst themselves, while the youth got involved in the activities. There was lots of laughter and chatter throughout the afternoon and rolling into the evening. At 7.30pm the paint came out, and all those who were interested in getting involved, donned their white T-shirts. Paint was flying everywhere and before you knew it, there was no more white to be seen. Everyone was beautifully adorned in a multitude of colours. Some even had colourful smiles, from all the laughing throughout the paint fight.

Some took up the opportunity of being hosed down with warm tank water and there were plenty of large rubbish bags for covering people or car seats. Everyone started to slowly leave and all that was left was for the organisers to clean up. It took until 10.30pm that night to pack down and remove the paint, but it was definitely worth it for all the smiles that had been created on the night.

Many of the young people who attended have since contacted us to thank us for the event and share their own memories from the night. Check out the great photos taken by Tony Hallworth at http://www.ioe.org.au/what-we-do/photo-gallery/2014-photo-gallery/national-youth-week-2014/

by Jess Van Arendonk


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