Voice of youth: Ben Wohlfiel, Genevieve Gregory and Hannah Smith are receptive to the idea of a youth council for Murray Bridge high schoolers. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Murray Bridge’s high schoolers will soon get more say in council decisions that affect them.
The rural city is looking to form a youth council that could advocate for school-aged young people, give feedback on relevant proposals, and come up with ideas about how to get youth involved in the community.
Participants will receive traning and mentoring, support from council staff when it came to minute-keeping and funding applications, and invitations to official functions.
Five year 10 and 11 students from Murray Bridge High School, three from Unity College and two from Tyndale Christian School will be involved.
Motivational speaker Nathan Hulls will visit each school to give a presentation on leadership, personal development and making a difference, and to invite students to get involved, in the near future.
Three Murray Bridge High students told The Standard they were encouraged by the idea.
“It’s pretty good because we get to have a say in what happens in the community, it’s not just made by the political community,” said Genevieve Gregory.
“They want to train us up so we fill their footsteps.”
Giving youth a voice would help reduce the sort of social problems that arose when high schoolers had nothing to do, Ben Wohlfiel said.
“Youth are the next generation of this town,” he said.
“It gives us an idea of what’s going on, then young people as they get older can step up into actual roles at the council.”
But Hannah Smith wondered why a youth council was needed when the council already had a youth advisory committee (YAC), a less formal group which gave advice on all matters relevant to people under the age of 25.
“I’m a bit confused about why we need another one … but I’ll support anything that allows youth to have more say in the community,” she said.
“Obviously youth have asked for this, and maybe it’s a good thing for people who want to take that (formal) direction, but maybe for some people the YAC would be better.”
Either way, the new youth council would need to be given time to flourish, Genevieve said.
She said a similar body in the Coorong district had vanished after about six months due to a lack of continuity.
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