Kids are growing up far too quickly as they see the affect drought is having on their families, says Walgett's Emily Newton.
Ms Newton and Jinnara Tyson from Dubbo are among two of the 11 people chosen to be on a steering committee for UNICEF Australia's NSW Youth Summit on living with drought.
As part of the steering committee, the youths help select about 100 young people aged 14 to 24-years-old who will attend the drought summit. The steering committee has also helped design the summit.
The aim of it is to collaborate with participants and experts to develop solutions for the problems young people are facing in the drought. The ideas will be presented to bureaucrats and politicians on the final day of the summit in October.
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Ms Newton said most of her life had been spent battling against the drought. She's lived in Walgett her whole life until moving to Wagga Wagga to further her studies.
"While most of my friends were able to go away to the beach for their summer holidays, I would spend my holidays pulling dead animals out of the mud from the middle of dried up dams - this included livestock, native animals and pet poddy lambs and calves," she said.
"This became not only physically draining, but extremely mentally draining as it felt as though there was nothing more that I could do as my parents fought away debt to support me through the remaining years of my schooling."
The 21-year-old said youths were not spending their time being kids because they were seeing the affect of mental illness and financial instability.
"My main hope is that young people are able to come away from the summit with the life skills to be able to tackle the hardships they find themselves facing in the drought," Ms Newton said.
Ms Tyson grew up in Goodooga but now lives in Dubbo.
She said the drought was taking away youths' leisure time in rural communities and replacing it with work.
"I hope the summit will assist with providing extra support to the rural and remote communities that are impacted by the drought," she said.
The 24-year-old also wants to be a role model for other Aboriginal youths.
The NSW Youth Summit on Living With Drought will run from October 9 to 11. The applicants chosen by the steering committee will have all their travel costs covered.