The newly appointed members of the Hastings District Youth Council met for the first time last week, keen to find ways to engage local young people in hot topics facing youth today.
The councillors, made up of 15 to 17-year-olds from schools throughout the region, were motivated and enthusiastic at their induction, training and planning sessions on Thursday and Friday last week.
St John’s College student Gurjas Sekhon, 17, said he put his hand up to be part of the youth council to give youth a voice.
“I wanted to represent those in need, to give support to youth.
“I also wanted to promote Hastings city as a place that involves its youth.”
Hastings Girls High School student Kathleen Steffert, 17, said she wanted to join to support young people dealing with issues around the likes of mental health, education and entering the workforce.
Addressing mental health, leadership, and being the change they want to see in the world was a common theme expressed by all the councillors during their first days together.
As well as voting Hastings Girls’ High School’s Kate Allen as chairperson and Havelock North High School’s Charliot Miller as vice chairperson, they discussed what it means to be a councillor and outlined their commitments for the year.
The initial focus was National Youth Week, being held from May 18 to 27, with plans to create dynamic, collaborative activities throughout the week across the community as well as in schools.
The theme of the week this year is “We are more than what you see” and the youth council plans to take the opportunity to show the Hastings community the amazing contribution young people make already and what could be achieved with the support of others.
Two pop-up sessions in the city centre this week will give people a chance to meet the Youth Council team.
On Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21, a free event called “Youth Brain Dump” is being held at 108 Heretaunga Street West, near the Cotton On store. Further sessions will also be held in Flaxmere and Camberley.
Running from 4pm to 6pm, the sessions are aimed at encouraging young people aged between 12 and 25 to share their opinions and ideas on what they would like to see happen in Hastings in the year ahead and beyond.
They can also take the opportunity to let the youth council know if they would like to be involved in future council activities, events and campaigns.
Hastings district councillor Malcom Dixon said the Youth Council was the eyes and ears of the future.
“We all need to reach out and listen to how they would make Hastings a better place for us all.
“I have always been impressed with their energy, creativity and genuine passion to make a valuable contribution to assist us all.”
19 March 2019
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