Art, Recreation and Sports

Art, recreation and sporting services and programs fulfil an important role in the community. They support the health and wellbeing of the community and enrich the lives of young Canberrans. Young people’s skills, talents and abilities can be developed through participation in the huge number of art, recreation and sports programs in the ACT community. In 2002 young people aged 18–24 years had higher levels of participation in social activities outside the home than other adults with a rate of 96 percent.[1]

Sporting activities also play a key role in the wellbeing of young people. Physical recreation can reduce obesity, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes as well as protecting against some forms of cancer and strengthening the musculoskeletal system and improving mental wellbeing through reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.[2] Young people in the ACT aged 18-25 years have higher levels of engagement in sport than every other older age bracket with around 80% of young people engaged in sporting activities.[3]

There remain many barriers to participation for young people. In particular, those who may not be engaged in mainstream activities requiring transport, cost and awareness. Workers need to be mindful of these barriers when attempting to reengage young people. Providing effective referrals to art, recreation and sporting services for young people is a way of addressing these barriers. The services in this section create opportunities and facilitate active involvement so young people can benefit from participating in arts and recreation programs.

Planning an Event with Young People



Events can be hard work and there is a lot to think about when organising an event with young people. The following list can be photocopied to assist planning an event with a group of young people.

  • Who wants to be involved? Who needs to be involved? Are there other services that could be involved? Ideas might include sponsorship from local businesses (such as the butcher) or getting donations for show bags.

  • Who is on the event planning team? What type of skills are in your team? What skills are missing and who could help? How can the workload be shared? Tip: Be clear about everybody’s role.

  • Why are you running this event? Who is it for? What do you want to say? You may even want to select a message to be delivered through the event.

  • Have you talked to other young people? What do they want? When do they want it? In the evening? On the weekend? During school holidays? Young people can help you decide what will work best in your community.

  • What type of event and activities do you want? Try and be creative.

  • How much is this going to cost? How are you going to pay for it? You can try fundraising like having a sausage sizzle at a local hardware store or ask a business in your area to sponsor the event. If you are applying for funding, grant applications usually need to be submitted well before the event will take place. For example, up to $1500 for an event can be accessed through the ACT Government Youth Interact Grants scheme, and scholarships for young people are also available at

  • Make a timeline and budget. 

  • Pick a venue for your event. Try and make it a place where all young people will feel comfortable. You could try having it in a youth centre, the town centre or a park. Is there disability access?

  • How will people get to and from the event? When do the buses stop running? Do you need to organise transport?

  • Create a plan to promote your event. You can promote your event in lots of ways including word of mouth, posters, email, schools and community radio.

  • Make sure to consider legal issues and check whether you need any permits. What about public liability insurance? You may need the assistance of city rangers, for instance if the event is on public land you may need permission and/or access to power outlets, gates etc. Go to or call Canberra Connect 13 22 81.

  • Do you want to invite any special guests or speakers?

  • Have you written a plan to give to the team that lets everybody know what’s happening, what their jobs are and when they need to do them? On the plan make sure you include emergency numbers and everybody’s mobile number.

  • Consider the logistics of the event including: food, drinks, toilets, hiring equipment, power (including voltage) and first aid. For larger events, you may need to consider issues such as security.

  • Try and predict what could go wrong and how you could address it. Have you developed a risk management plan? Remember that you can’t predict everything and you need to be flexible.

  • Learn from the experience. Remember what worked and what didn’t so that you can plan for your next event.
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