Small rural towns are losing young people to higher education and employment and Waimate is no exception.
However, employment opportunities and programmes specifically created for youth are encouraging more to stay.
Waimate District Resource Trust chairman Matt Henderson said it has always been an issue for smaller communities but the majority of those who leave for education return. "It all depends on job opportunities," he said.
However, Mr Henderson said a large number of Waimate's youth were remaining in town to educate and train in a trade.
"These people have set up their own business and they are employing young people and that's helping Waimate to retain them here. In 10 years' time we will go in the same circle again."
The resource trust co-ordinates the Youth Council, which meets the Waimate District Council twice a week to discuss concerns. "They could be listened to more," said Mr Henderson. "The older generation could be more receptive to listening to the youth."
Waimate Mayor John Coles said many young families are returning to Waimate to take advantage of the safe environment the district offers.