WHAT will Port Macquarie-Hastings look like in 30 years' time?
The young people in our community today, will be our leaders, engineers, designers and collaborators of tomorrow.
How do we get them involved in planning a road map for the region's future? Minecraft of course.
Hastings students are being encouraged to have their voice heard and ideas shared in the first of several youth participation initiatives hosted by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to strategically plan for 2050.
The Think 2050 Community Strategic Plan involves a 12-month project of engagement with the community, offering a range of exciting and innovative ways for people of all ages to get involved and share their vision for the future of the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.
Council, in partnership with Charles Sturt University, has launched a Minecraft Competition for primary and secondary school students as a way to nurture ideas and collaborate with future 21st century leaders.
Students in years 5 and 6, 7 and 8 are encouraged to submit an entry as part of a school team focusing on the key themes of outdoor spaces, how we move, use resources and be creative.
Entries will be assessed and judged by a panel of community and education leaders with prize money of $1,000 per category up for grabs for two successful schools.
Using technology and design thinking is just one of the many ways youth in our community can get creative and be involved in sharing their vision for our future community, council director Jeffery Sharp said,
"The opportunity to hear from our youth is invaluable, as they will be the community leaders of the future," Mr Sharp said.
"This about harnessing great young minds now - they will be our engineers and our community planners so it's important they are a part of this process.
"We really are only limited by our own thinking."
Director of External Engagement at Charles Sturt University, Kate Wood-Foye said CSU is delighted to partner with council on this initiative to engage and encourage young people to use their imaginations and technical skills to create a world worth living in.
"This design process aims to harness their creative and technical abilities allowing valuable insights into features that may shape their ideal community of the future. We can't wait to see the community concepts these talented students create," Ms Wood-Foye said.
The School Minecraft Competition is part of a broader program to engage and interact with youth throughout the region.
Schools can be involved in other activities including a Primary School Art Competition, Youth Summits and a series of school workshops.
"We're building the future for our community and want everyone to be involved," Mr Sharp said.
"Schools and their students are encouraged to participate and play their part in shaping what our community will look like in 30 years' time... imagine the possibilities."
Students Enakai Smith, Charles Hammond, Oliver Macfarlane and Eva Hammond all rated the value of activating more outdoor space for leisure and sporting activities as a priority in their "ideal city".
To find out more about the Think 2050 Schools and Youth Program and activities and to register, visit pmhc.nsw.gov.au/think-2050-youth.