Giv­ing voice to youth in com­mu­nity

Havelock North Village Press - - Front Page -

‘I would en­cour­age any­one who fits the cri­te­ria to ap­ply as the youth coun­cil needs rep­re­sen­ta­tion from through­out our com­mu­nity.’

MAL­COLM DIXON Hast­ings dis­trict coun­cil­lor

Hast­ings res­i­dents aged be­tween 15 and 21 are be­ing in­vited to ap­ply for a place on the Hast­ings Dis­trict Youth Coun­cil to add a val­ued youth per­spec­tive to coun­cil de­ci­sions and poli­cies.

Ap­pli­ca­tions are open un­til Fe­bru­ary 20, and suc­cess­ful coun­cil ap­pointees will get the op­por­tu­nity to have their voices heard as well as cre­ate and sup­port youth projects and ini­tia­tives across the dis­trict.

For for­mer Have­lock North High School head girl Ella Hooger­brug, two years on the coun­cil was a worth­while ex­pe­ri­ence sparked by a de­sire to em­power the youth voice and make sure young peo­ple were getting “a fair shot and the best op­por­tu­ni­ties”, she says.

About to start study­ing law and de­vel­op­ment stud­ies at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity this year, she says she felt a real sense of pride in what the youth coun­cil achieved in her time there, par­tic­u­larly in the past year.

“Our group re­ally put their best foot for­ward and stood up for what they be­lieve in whether it’s the re­vamp of the Hast­ings CBD, how to get young peo­ple in­volved in more sport or sim­ply giv­ing our opin­ion on how lo­cal ar­eas can ben­e­fit youth more.”

She says she made lots of con­nec­tions in the com­mu­nity both with older adults as well as other like­minded stu­dents, and in her role as chair­per­son for the last year she also gained lead­er­ship and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

The youth coun­cil com­prises 15 coun­cil­lors who at­tend one of­fi­cial meet­ing ev­ery month and ad­di­tional meet­ings de­pend­ing on what projects are com­ing up.

In 2018, the youth coun­cil was in­volved in run­ning the Hast­ings Dis­trict Coun­cil Po­ten­tial Awards, gave feed­back to coun­cil on the planned CBD re­de­vel­op­ment, and or­gan­ised and ran the first Youth Grants pre­sen­ta­tion evening cel­e­brat­ing tal­ented and hard-work­ing young peo­ple in Hast­ings.

This year the youth coun­cil will be putting to­gether a pro­gramme of events and projects to cel­e­brate Na­tional Youth Week that runs from May 18 to 27.

Hast­ings dis­trict coun­cil­lor Mal­colm Dixon has worked with the youth coun­cil since he was first elected five years ago and says the youth voice is an im­por­tant on.

“We need to hear from young peo­ple — what their con­cerns are as well as their so­lu­tions.

“We also need to lis­ten to how they would like Hast­ings to look and func­tion in the fu­ture be­cause the youth of to­day is our fu­ture.

“I would en­cour­age any­one who fits the cri­te­ria to ap­ply as the youth coun­cil needs rep­re­sen­ta­tion from through­out our com­mu­nity.”

■ To find out more about the youth coun­cil and to ap­ply go to the coun­cil web­site www.hast­ingsdc.govt.nz/hast­ings/youth­ser­vices/youth­coun­cil

For­mer Hast­ings dis­trict youth coun­cil­lor Ella Hooger­brug says be­ing on the youth coun­cil was an em­pow­er­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

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