Youth shine in awards

Willpower winner Toby Birkett.

A big-hearted cyclist, young art entrepreneur and LGBTIQA+ community advocate are among Macedon Ranges Youth Award winners this year.

Celebrated for their outstanding achievements at a Kyneton Town Hall ceremony last week, this year’s winners were: Toby Birkett (Willpower), Casey Carew and Akira Zutelia (Skilling It), Alexander O’Hanlon (Good Deeds), Charlie Jackman (Pure Imagination), Lachlan Goodes (Nicely Played), and Cameron Palmer (Well Aware).

They were selected from more than 30 young people nominated across the award six categories.

Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s director of community, Maria Weiss, said the quality of nominations was high.

“We are very fortunate to have so many motivated and talented young people in our shire,” she said.

“It’s so important we recognise their achievements through awards like these, to encourage them to continue on their incredible journeys.”

Willpower winner Toby Birkett is in a leadership with the Braemar Cadet unit and has demonstrated true passion and skill in the role.

Toby has made many achievements all while suffering a significant leg injury and enduring more than 10 months on crutches, overcoming extreme challenges and disruptions to school and personal life.

Alexander O’Hanlon was awarded Good Deeds for his achievements as a community connector with LGBTIQA+ young people in the region.

He has helped raise awareness about LGBTIQA+ experiences and programs available for young people.

Alexander is a member of the House of Awesome LGBTIQA+ social support group, the Sunbury Glitter Group, the Kyneton High Pride Crew, and was a participant in the WayOut Pride Camp, and in other WayOut events in the community such as Queers on the Catwalk and IDAHOBIT celebrations.

Charlie Jackman was named Pure Imagination winner for his passion and creativity in the arts that has included a small business set-up Charlie by Art and recognition from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

The 16-year-old, who is autistic, turns his art into greeting cards, sold through his website, local markets and local stores.

In 2019, Charlie was commissioned to produce artwork for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, creating an artwork called ‘Melbourne’ for his Christmas card.

In 2020, he was commissioned by the Victorian Minister for Creative Industries to create an artwork called ‘A Fresh Start’, reflecting on the Covid pandemic.

Nicely Played winner Lachlan Goodes is Macedon Ranges Cycling Club’s youngest member.

In March, Lachlan completed his longest ride so far of 75km on the Great Victorian Rail Trail. He was also the youngest child to complete the 60km in the Great Ocean Otway Classic in April 2022 and 108km from Tallarook-Bonnie Doon (12 years old) in July 2022.

His biggest achievement so far has been riding 21.52km up Mt Buffalo on his gravel bike; an elevation of 1074m and a time of time 2hrs 6mins, with snow during the last 10km.

Another proud achievement was his participation in the 2022 Tour de Kids, riding 250kms in 30 days and raising funds for the Starlight Foundation.

Well Aware winner Cameron Palmer has been celebrated for raising the profile of First Nations students and building stronger awareness of First Nations culture and history, particularly within the Macedon Ranges.

Cameron is a school captain at Gisborne Secondary College and has been involved in various initiatives including organising events for Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.

After discovering his First Nations heritage as a teenager, he has not only embraced this connection, but also looked to how he could positively interact with the many opportunities and challenges it has presented.

Shared Skilling It winners Casey Carew and Akira Zutelia have demonstrated strong work ethic and eagerness to learn in their roles at Gisborne Family Dental.

Both have proven themselves quickly and have never held back in developing their knowledge and skills.

Skilling It winners Casey Carew and Akira Zutelia.
Nicely Played winner Lachlan Goodes.
Pure Imagination winner Charlie Jackman.
Well Aware winner Cameron Palmer.