Magpies are known for being fiercely protective of their young, something a Goonellabah educator says leaders should learn from, as he sought to get a youth centre off the ground.
Bradley Walker spoke to councillors at this September's council meeting about the need for a Goonellabah Youth Youth Centre like the Magpie Centre that once operated in Shearman Drive.
The Magpie Centre closed in 2004 and Mr Walker, who was involved with the centre, said bringing back a similar service would bring jobs, activities, and respect for the youth of Goonellabah.
He said the youth centre would be for everyone - the old centre was called the Magpie Centre, because a magpie is black and white, bringing everyone together.
"I was born and bred in Lismore... it was hard growing up in Goonellabah. I used to drink and do drugs, but I turned my life around," Mr Walker said.
"We can show them the right way - for our youth to be leaders in our community."
He said the centre would give the young people of the Goonellabah community something to do on the weekends, and help instill a sense of pride in themselves.
Cr Elly Bird raised the motion asking the council to provide in principle support for the development of a youth and community centre in Goonellabah, as put forward at the Aboriginal Advisory Group.
Cr Bird said the Magpie Centre had been a well loved centre in the community and "was a loss".
She said the new centre did not have to be "huge" or take up a lot of resources, but would deliver important services and programs for the community.
Councillors voted to undertake more investigation into the idea of a centre - where it could be placed, including whether GSAC could used, what stakeholder interest there was in the centre, and prepare a funding proposal that can be used to lobby government for funding.
Mr Walker said the timing was right to start a youth service.
"We are in the season of the magpie. We are in the season of the magpie centre. They protect. What do they do when they see danger? They swoop."
He said now was the time for the community to swoop, to "let our young people know they are protected".
"Magpies protect their young, their babies, and that's what we have to do," Mr Walker said.
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