Australia's regional youth have once again demonstrated their ability to tell compelling and engaging stories, with the announcement of the 2013 Heywire winners - including Cassie Maye of Jindabyne.
Heywire winners will be featured on the ABC and given the opportunity to have their voices and stories heard at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra early this year.
Now in its 16th year, Heywire provides a vehicle through which young people across regional Australia can tell their story, in their own way.
Director of ABC Radio, Kate Dundas, says that this year's winners exemplify exactly why Heywire is so important, providing opportunities to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their region, culture and way of living.
"Heywire is about connection," Ms Dundas said. "Individuals are given the chance to share their experiences in a positive and ideas-rich environment and spotlight what it means to be a young person living in regional Australia."
"The Heywire competition, and the Heywire Regional Youth Summit provide a powerful platform for Australia's regional youth to showcase their experiences and develop their ideas, and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to share their story with us," Ms Dundas said.
After more than 9000 entries over 16 years, the winning entries typify the candour and creativity that have become synonymous with this unique project. More than ever, they represent the diversity of experiences of people growing up in rural and regional areas.
From saving lives on the streets of Broome, to migrating to Toowoomba after years in a refugee camp in Benin; from pigeon racing in Horsham, to becoming a life-saver and patrolling the beaches of Arnhem Land, the list of Heywire winning pieces allow a vivid and compelling glimpse into a range of experiences, all true, and all from Australia's regional youth.
Each year, Heywire calls out to people aged 16-22 to submit stories in text, pictures, film or audio, inviting them to share their experience of life in a regional community.
Winners from each state and territory (41 in total from 2013) will travel to Canberra in February for the Heywire Regional Youth Summit at the Australian Institute of Sport. During the week-long summit, participants will have leadership training, network with members of Parliament and community leaders, and develop ideas to make regional Australia a better place for young people.