Youth representatives join the Community Board

Raglan Community Board’s newest and youngest members, Charlie Irvin, Grace Mindoro and Sven Seddon, are looking forward to being the youth voice for Raglan.

The 16-year-olds recently sat in their second meeting since they were elected earlier this year and say the experience is giving them an opportunity to find out how local government politics work in their town and how they can make a difference for young people in Raglan.

“Together we give the youth of the community a voice,” Sven says. “There’s not enough youth making decisions for the community.”

They all agree that the youth voice has been under-represented for too long and look forward to being a force for change for their generation and the next.

“We can offer our perspective and our viewpoint on community board decisions and we can offer a new way of seeing things,” Charlie says.

They are also keen to bridge the gap between young and old people and shine a positive light on the great work being done by the younger generation in Raglan.

Keen to support their peers, the three young politicians hope to create a regular youth event, as well as looking into what can be done about work opportunities and after school activities for young people.

“We want to make youth feel like they are part of the community,” Charlie says.

The year 12 students will sit on the board for one year and receive a $20 Te Awa voucher for each meeting they attend, but more importantly they get a behind-the-scenes look into how Raglan is run.

“It’s a great experience and we get to see first hand what’s happening in the community,” Grace says.

Raglan Waikato District councillor, Lisa Thomson, says it’s an exciting time for youth to be involved in the community board.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to see what local government and governance means and the influence they can have,” she says.

Janine Jackson