Former members of the Bega Valley Youth Council. Bega Valley Shire councillors voted to cease the operation of a youth council at the council meeting on Wendesday, May 18.
The Bega Valley Shire Youth Council has been operating for more than 10 years and in this time has held a number of popular activities.
The Youth Council has not been active since August 2015, pending the results of the Youth Engagement Review which was undertaken following the slow demise of the youth council in terms of the number of people involved.
The review suggests that, while the Youth Council has had some value as a youth engagement strategy, it also has limitationsin relation to its lack of diversity.
The review recommendedthat Council does not re-establish the Youth Council but instead adopts two broad approaches to engaging young people: Youth Voice – engaging with a diverse range of young people in the Shire; and Youth Action- creating opportunities for young people to participate in thecommunity.
Councillor Liz Seckold was the onlycouncillorpresent to vote against the recommendation.Cr Seckold, who was a high school teacher for 43 years, was very passionate in her plea to continue operating the Youth Council.
“I accept that support of the Youth Voice and Youth Action initiatives is better than no action at all but this would work in conjunction with a youth council as the spearhead,” Cr Seckold said.“I hate to see it go, I know people do communicate with Facebook and I know that can be very valuable in spreading messages but there is nothing like face to face discussions.”
But councillor Kristy McBain was all for the changes.
“I understandthat in our current landscape youth interaction is changing and we’re seeing a lot more people interacting with each other via social media,” she said.
“Youth Voice will give these people that want to have a say on certain issues the ability to do so, they don’t have to be part of a youth council to have their voices heard.”
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