Thirteen emerging leaders have taken a major step in making a significant difference to their community by becoming Mitchell Youth Councillors.
The 2017-18 youth councillors were officially sworn in at last week’s council meeting. Seven were re-elected, while six are first-time councillors.
North ward has three representatives on the youth council — Brianna Matthews-Gunn (La Trobe University), Chloe Morse (Seymour Flexible Learning Centre) and Lachlan Matthews-Gunn (Assumption College).
Incumbent Youth Mayor Audrey Flannery and Deputy Youth Mayor Angelica Skora were re-elected to their positions.
Now in its seventh term, Mitchell Youth Council helps give young people in the community a voice by listening to the issues important to them and developing initiatives, programs and events.
Cr Flannery praised the youth council concept.
‘‘I initially joined the youth council because I wanted to be more involved in the local community and to take part in projects that could really make a difference,’’ Cr Flannery said.
‘‘But I quickly realised it was much more than that. I have met many people, of all ages and from all walks of life, and it’s been exciting to learn about the passions and ideas that mean something to those in our community.
‘‘The thing about youth council is that we come together as individuals with ideas and dreams, and we become friends. Some of the most inspirational and incredible people I know are fellow youth councillors, past and present.’’
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the youth councillors were outstanding examples of the capabilities of young people within the shire.
‘‘By listening to and addressing the issues that affect young people across the shire, Mitchell Youth Council will be directing the services and events they want within their townships,’’ she said.
‘‘In the next 15 years, we are expected to welcome another 12000 people under the age of 14 to our shire and that’s why it is so important that we engage with young people and involve them in planning for their future.’’