(L-R) Georgie Schulz of Lismore, Alicia Harper of Woodenbong, co-chairpersons Neil Hendriks and Aura-Lea Withers, and Angus Shinners of Lismore, at the Tropical Fruits NYE venue.
(L-R) Georgie Schulz of Lismore, Alicia Harper of Woodenbong, co-chairpersons Neil Hendriks and Aura-Lea Withers, and Angus Shinners of Lismore, at the Tropical Fruits NYE venue. Marc Stapelberg

Tribes welcome new year

THE tribes were gathering yesterday at the Lismore Showground.

Preparations for this weekend's Tropical Fruits Tribe New Year's Eve party were well under way with members of the Fresh Fruits also busy adding last minute touches for last night's Shrine Youth Party Extravaganza.

For the second year running the Tropical Fruits handed over one of the dance spaces to the youth-based Fresh Fruits to run a dance party.

Fresh Fruits co-chairs Aura-Ley Withers and Neil Hendriks said last night's Shrine Extravaganza was to give young people a way to celebrate the approaching New Year in a safe, fun, drug-free, alcohol-free and discrimination-free environment.

"The tribe theme emphasises that we are one big family," said Ms Withers.

"All the symbols used to decorate the space represent all the cultures and tribes coming together.

"We offer a safe haven for youth to grow to personal identity, free from discrimination, prejudice and fear.

"Our group is a fantastic way for rural youth to network and find friends - especially when they are first questioning their sexuality."

Fresh Fruits is a youth-run initiative of the Tropical Fruits organisation which offers gay social support, education programs, mentoring and community awareness.



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