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Splendour in the Grass 2017Splendour

As a PASH (Positive Adolescent Sexual Health) Consortium member, and for the fourth year since the consortium’s inception, Casino Youth Service (CYS) assisted with the sexual health peer education training of eleven young people from Casino High School and ETC’s youth program. As Peer Educators Engaging Peers (PEEPs), these young people play a central role in the 2-day PASH Youth Conference, hosted by Southern Cross University. PEEPs receive innovative, inclusive and comprehensive sexual health education and have the opportunity to co-facilitate with the experts across a range of topics from ‘Sex & Disabilities’, ‘Love & Sex Online: Porn sex vs real sex’, ‘Safer Sex: What’s legal & what’s not’, to ‘Loving the Body You’re In’ and ‘Body Mods, Tatts & Harm Reduction’. This year, the Conference was attended by over 800 Year 10 and 11 students from schools across the Northern Rivers.

Post-conference, PEEPs have the opportunity to volunteer at the PASH Consortium’s sexual health promotion tent at Splendour in the Grass. This year, the 3-day festival saw the distribution of over 10 000 condoms, vital sexual health information and resources, activities, valuable research opportunities for academics from University of New South Wales, as well as the opportunity for PEEPs to engage with festival-goers and demonstrate their newfound knowledge.

While the hours are long and arduous, the rewards are abundant and splendid. The PEEPs from Casino did themselves, their families, Casino High School, and CYS proud. They displayed professionalism and integrity whilst negotiating their way around a busy, unfamiliar, and at times demanding environment.

What comes next…? The PASH Consortium and its reputation for providing superior sexual health education for young people continues to grow each year with a second Consortium having been established south of Coffs Harbour. Several PEEPs have been invited to sit on the Consortium forming a Youth Advisory Committee, a new and vital element of the Consortium. Importantly, 2018 will see the health promotion tent at Splendour in the Grass offering chlamydia testing and treatment.

Casino Youth Service takes great pride, and is deeply gratified to be involved in such an essential program and staff are looking forward to doing it all again next year. Peace.