At just 15, Lily Trethowan is taking a leading role in state youth affairs.

The Bacchus Marsh teenager is part of the 2019 Youth Congress, meeting every month with Minister for Youth Gabrielle Williams and a diverse team of 19 other young Victorians aged 13 to 24.

The Youth Congress advocates for the needs of young Victorians and helps to shape government policies, programs, and services.

“Youth have something to give to civic life,” Lily said.

“Our opinions deserve respect and fairness.

“I know so many people, including myself, that want to provide their voice to government, and Australian youth have voices everywhere and we all need to listen.”

She said her time in the Girl Guides had given her the confidence to take an active role in the congress.

“My Guiding experience as a whole has given me skills of teamwork and leadership, which I have transferred to Youth Congress,” she said.

Each year, the Youth Congress focuses on a different challenge facing young people. This year congress announced the issue it will discuss will be youth civic engagement.