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"I have a passion for making changes, as many changes in Broken Hill that need to be heard and known…"

Campbell Quintrell – Broken Hill Leader
Campbell Quintrell – Broken Hill Leader Campbell Quintrell at his local Skate Park

16-years-old and living 940 kilometres from Sydney, Campbell Quintrell is a leader who is unfazed by his age or distance from the metropolitan seat of power in New South Wales. He’s determined to become a voice for his generation and tackle the inequality experienced in his hometown of Broken Hill.

Campbell is the President of the YMCA Broken Hill Young Leaders, Vice President of the School Representative Council at Willyama High and a keen photographer.

Despite the challenges of being a teen in a global pandemic, he’s making 2020 the year of standing up and being heard.

Broken Hill is challenging environment, 940km from Sydney

Change starts in your backyard

The Young Leaders first met in 2018 and have already fundraised for a Youth Group in Kangaroo Island affected by the bushfires, participated in two World’s Greatest Shaves and secured funding through grants for a wide range of community initiatives.

Off the back of their own fundraising efforts, they’ve brought skateboarding sessions and movie screenings to their town and recently secured $5,050 for a Colour Run in Broken Hill through the ABC’s Heywire Program.

The Broken Hill young leaders fundraising for Kangaroo Island with a car wash.
The Broken Hill young leaders celebrating their first birthday

Reaching across the generational divide

While some of the group’s events are on pause due to COVID, they never stopped meeting online and maintained focus on creating meaningful and positive local change. When the pandemic began, they wrote letters to residents at the local St Anne’s Nursing Home.

“The main point was to send letters and show them that we care and create a bond between our age group and their age group,” Campbell said.

“I feel like there’s a big stereotype around the disconnection between what they were like when they were younger and what we are like now. I put in my letter that I love photography, I love cooking I love gardening … told them that I love school, it’s hard for me and I can’t imagine how hard it is for you,” he said.

Campbell writing his first letter to a resident at St Anne’s Nursing Home

A seat at the table

In August 2020, Campbell was selected to represent the voices of youth on the 12-member NSW Government Youth Advisory Council. Competition was strong with more than 600 young people applying for a seat at the table. The YAC meets every six weeks to ensure young people’s voices are heard by Government.

Campbell first applied in 2018 and this year, his persistence paid off.

“I really gravitated towards it to be able to make change in my community and have my voice heard at a parliamentary level. I have a passion for making changes – as many changes in Broken Hill and regional areas that need to be heard and known,” he said.

Campbell’s photography depicts the rugged rural beauty of his hometown Broken Hill

A leader with substance

Campbell has thought about what he wants to achieve and change through his leadership positions.

“I’m very passionate about improving the stability and the structure of schooling in regional areas. Our facilities and resources are lacking, meaning we don’t have the same opportunities to see where we can go in life and what we can achieve. Many of us have a passion but don’t have the facilities to follow our dreams,” he said.

“The second priority for me is the health system. When people need professional help and professional facilities they need to travel from Broken Hill and Wilcannia to Sydney or Adelaide. It’s expensive and time consuming and really impact someone’s life at a time when they really need professional help.

“We need to see an improvement to our facilities and training programs and incentives to encourage health care professionals to live and work here, to stop the drain on the population and support the economy as well as our community’s wellbeing.”

Check out the video of Campbell speaking to ABC Radio:


You can support Campbell’s photography by following @soupsy1195 on Instagram or follow @ymcayoungleadersbrokenhill on Facebook to keep with the group and support their local events.

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