YOUNG south-west residents say a lack of entertainment and transport options is leaving them increasingly isolated.
Fourty-five high school students took part in this week's Landscapes for Young People (L4YP) youth summit at RMIT Hamilton, sharing their opinions through three workshops.
Students from Hamilton, Portland, Heywood and Casterton were part of the day, with a shortage of recreational facilities a major talking point.
Monivae College student Tyler Hay, 16, felt the inaugural summit had been a success.
"I felt I really got a lot out of it, because I have wanted to make a change in the area," he said.
"There isn't really much to do in Hamilton, and I've just never found an avenue to do that."
The year 11 student said there were few places beyond the local skate park to keep teens busy.
"A bowling alley would be awesome," he said.
"I think we're big enough, and people would come from Casterton and Portland and Heywood to go bowling here."
Discussion also focused on a shortage of public transport options between regional communities and centres such as Melbourne.
The three-year L4YP initiative has been supported by a $345,000 state grant and aims to seek opinions from young residents and empower them to tackle issues of concern.
Project manager Sarah Stephens said it was important for rhetoric to translate into real chances for youth.
"What we want to cover as part of this project is getting them to look at their communities ? where they live, what they do ? (and) identify things that they're passionate about," she said.
"Then, if they have something to say about it, find the right person to say it to, get people together to say it. That's how change comes about."
Monivae student Lisa Stanford, 16, said she appreciated the chance to meet like-minded peers.
"There's not a lot of opportunities or groups around Hamilton for kids to get involved in and have their say," she said.
"Even if you do campaign it's very hard to get people to listen, and that's a big issues."
Stefan Dimou, a Melbourne-based policy officer with the Left Right Think Tank, gave a keynote address during the summit and said young people shouldn't expect others to act for them.
"It can't be a case of just standing by passively," he said.
"Elected officials are not mind readers.
''They need to hear the views of young people in order to make better decisions," he said.
A second L4YP summit will be held in spring.