Mosman Youth Centre aims to support, promote and facilitate opportunities for young people to fulfil passion projects, designing music events, lead charity fundraisers and much more. These individual stories aim to provide a suitable spotlight for local Mosman young people who have demonstrated ongoing dedication to their initiative and are willing to share their journey that led them to where they are today. 


The creators of Cherry Jam – (Left to Right) – Aaron, Seth & Dexter)

Cherry Jam was held in September 2022 and featured 5 other local bands and artists. This entire youth led event, saw over 100 participants enjoy the creative evening! 

Cherry Jam (Seth, Aaron & Dexter)

March 2023 Highlight – Cherry Jam Creators, Musicians & Lifelong Friends!

Would you mind telling us a bit about yourselves and any passions, hobbies or interests you have? 

Hi! I’m Aaron Zapower, and I’d say that my main passion is music (which you probably could’ve guessed). I’ve been playing music for around 10 years and it’s been at the centre of my life ever since. I’m in year 12 now, and things have been a bit hectic, but I always try to find time to calm down and play some bass, guitar or banjo. 


Hello I’m Dexter Taylor Gibson-Cummins Holman Hoffman Butt III. I’ve been making art in various forms of film, music and drawings since I can remember. I constantly find myself engrossed in mildly inconvenient and unusual situations that tend to fuel my creative doohickies. My current project is finding the balance between self-expression and self-obsession in my new album, WEDNES.

Hey, I’m Seth. I also like music and have been a multi-instrumentalist for about 10 years. My main purpose in my art, whether it be sound, ink on paper or skin, film or written word, my main goal is just to create something that serves as a snapshot of whatever’s going on in my world at the time. It’s important to me that I create something I enjoy but others can derive some sort of feeling from. I also like rain, cats, and Dexter’s shoes.


Congrats on your majorly successful MyProject event that took place at the Youth Centre in September last year. Can you share with us the backstory behind the event, how it came to be and what inspired the name of the event? 

It started with Chris (Youth Programs Officer) coming up to us (Seth and Dexter) while we we’re jammin in the Youth Centre’s music room. He gave us the idea of us planning a concert. From there it just sorta worked out and the ball kept rolling. Eventually, Aaron joined the band and the project just kept getting bigger and better. The name came from the original placeholder  ‘Jam Night’ and we added the Cherry as a reference to Seth’s old music name ‘churra’.


It’s great to see so many young people pursuing their passions in the area of performing arts. Are there any major aspirations / inspirations that you have as a group or perhaps as individuals? 

It’s kinda funny because we all sorta get into the same stuff together more or less. One of us will show up to practice and just chuck on a song they heard and we’ll just end up writing songs just like it for a while. We’re all pretty massive fans of Tyler, the Creator, Ween, Thundercat, Bowie, Mike Krol, Big Thief, Outkast and Andwer. Love Andwer.  Aaron loves Hall and Oates and Björk. Dexter fiends over Mark Ronson. Seth is a musical butterfly who flutters his wings every which way. 


I’m hearing whispers of a potential Cherry Jam evening returning later in this year, which is very exciting! Can you give us any insights on what to expect? 

We can’t say much… but we can tell you that it’s probably not gonna be called Cherry Jam again, but it will still include a range of amazing local talent, just like last time. You should expect it within the back end of Term 2/Early term 3. Unfortunately we can’t say anything more than that. Because we don’t know.

The event featured an eclectic group of performers and performances, from five piece bands to melodic trios and even a poetry reading! This drew quite a crowd of young people, what could the local community do to support you and the local music crowd? 

There are tons of ways you can support local artists. Local newsletters and bulletins (just like this) are a great way of keeping informed, as well as following local artists on socials (@andwer.b on instagram get on that we will love you forever). Also, keep an eye out around the area for posters and such. As for us, we’re gonna be doing very regular gigs around the northern beaches/city area as well as youth centre events… stay posted. posted. 

In fact, this coming Friday, March 3rd, Andwer will be performing at the

youth centre’s World Pride Block Party. Come down and say hi!

Do you have any tips for other young people about pursuing their own passion projects?

Just create as much as possible. Don’t worry about how ‘good or bad’ what you’re making is and NEVER DELETE things you think are crap. As long as you’re getting to know and growing your confidence in your craft, it’s always worthwhile. It’s never going to be an overnight thing, but when you look back on your old work compared to what you’re doing now, you’ll learn so much about how far you’ve come and where to go next. Never create without reason, do what you feel expresses how you feel and make it for yourself and your personal satisfaction. Never make it for anyone else and NEVER do it because you think you ‘should’ be. There’ll be artistic highs, lows and plateaus. Just go with the flow. 


You’ve just finished writing your autobiography, what would the name of the book be?

Big Andwer: We covered Frank Ocean once.

Sam visiting the garden circa 2023

Sam working on establishing the garden circa 2017

Sam Hayley (Youth Centre Alumuni)

February 2023 Highlight – From Green Thumb to Freelance Ecologist!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your connection with the Youth Centre 

Hello! My name is Sam Hayley, I’ve been attending the Mosman Youth Centre since about 2015. I shortly became known to all the staff, and the Youth Centre quickly became a second home. As I got older, I always found myself returning to the Youth Centre with new friends, new ideas and new passions. I I don’t like to think I’ve had my ‘last day’ at the Youth Centre; but after high school ended and I moved away from home, I’m not around as much as I would like.


What did a typical afternoon look like at the centre back in the day? 
A typical afternoon at the Youth Centre looked like throwing our bags down and jumping straight on the pool table for as long as we could stand. After that, a healthy dose of hanging out in the music rooms and most importantly chatting to the Youth Centre staff – whether that be just keeping them on their toes or discussing new ideas for the Youth Centre. Many of the (more productive) conversations lead to exciting new things at the Youth Centre such as gigs and Green Thumbs! It’s always a highlight of trips back to Mosman to see how far the Green Thumbs garden has come since a concept discussed around the Youth Centre office.

Can you give us a brief overview about your career and studies?
Throughout my studies at university, I have found myself involved in many projects as a freelance ecologist. Many of these projects have involved trekking through the bush in search of frogs, gliding mammals, koalas, and threatened plants. A huge factor in pursuing a more ‘adventurous’ career path has been my mentors. Mentors such as Chris, Matt, and Jerome from the Youth Centre who not only encouraged me to take risks and never be afraid to take the less trodden path but spending the time to help me develop these passions.

Who or what would you say ignited your passion for the environment?  
I think my passion for the environment started from a young age when I was encouraged to spend time outdoors, in the garden or on family trips. Many prominent figures growing up further fuelled this passion by providing me with opportunities to turn this passion into something productive by ways of volunteering and job opportunities!

If you could give your teenage self some advice, what words of wisdom would you give them?
I would say people are more willing to help and to show you how things are done than you might think and not to be afraid to ask stupid questions.

If you could invite three people, living or dead, to your birthday party, who would you choose? And what would you talk to them about or do? 
The first person that comes to mind is the great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius who dedicated his time to bettering himself. Following that, my high school mentor Mrs Gurung who would always keep an open mind and encourage me to (safely) pursue even my most nonsensical ideas. And finally, the famous mycologist Paul Stamets who believes mankind and fungi can work together to save the world.
To be honest I’m not sure what I would talk to them about but I’m sure together we could find solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

Lachlan, Marina & Madeline with the donation box they built for their project

Lachlan (17), Marina (16) & Madeline (17)

January 2023 Highlight – Lifeline Book Fair

Would you mind telling us a bit about yourself/ the group involved and what you like to do outside of the MyProject?

We are Madeline, Marina and Lachlan, and we are all current Year 11 students at Redlands. Outside of MyProject, we are all very different people with our own unique hobbies and passions. Madeline loves visual art, Lachlan loves music, and Marina loves literature.


Can you give us a brief overview about your MyProject?

Our MyProject involves collecting second-hand books in good condition from the local community, which we will then donate to Lifeline. This project will be running throughout the Summer holidays, from mid-December to early February.


How did you/the team land on this idea? / Do you / the team  have a specific connection with the name?

We landed on this idea because we all really believe in the importance of Lifeline’s mission: they are a charity who provide free crisis support services to Australians, and also raise awareness about suicide prevention. We all think that raising awareness for mental health is so important, particularly after Covid, so we really wanted to find a way to support Lifeline by collecting books for their annual book fairs. 


How can other young people as well as the wider community support the project?

Other young people and the wider community can support our project by donating books! We have left a clearly labelled box outside the entrance of the Mosman Youth Centre, so that community members can donate books throughout the summer.


Have you come across any challenges or barriers throughout the process? If so, please explain how you overcame them.

The most challenging part of organising this project was the initial planning stage. At first, we knew we wanted to hold a book drive but weren’t 100% sure to which charities the books should go. However, after some research we found that Lifeline’s mission really spoke to us! So our advice would be to do your research and persevere through the planning stage.


Feeling inspired? To learn a bit more about how to turn your passion project into a reality follow the link below for more information about MyProject and begin your journey today.