Youth councillors step into new positions

By Erika Venter

It was musical chairs for the Stratford Youth Council's top structure on Tuesday following the resignation of chairperson Rebekah Frost, who is off to university.

Savarna Pease was voted in as chairperson, vacating her prior position as deputy chair. This prompted another vote that saw Logan Clarke elected for the position. Having been treasurer prior, another election followed with Alicia Jamieson chosen to keep the council's budget.

Meanwhile, trainee councillor Jamie-lee Nickels was sworn in as a full councillor by mayor Neil Volzke, with Rebecca Poole also having resigned to go to university.

Rebekah (18) has been on the council for five years. She became secretary in the second year and held that position until elected chairperson in her last year. She is off to Hamilton to study a Bachelor of Science at Waikato University and says she aims to serve on other councils if given the opportunity.

"It's not easy to choose one single best experience from being a member of youth council. The whole five years was an amazing experience. I learnt so much and met some amazing people."

She describes herself as having been shy when first elected for council, saying her biggest challenge was learning to take part in the meetings and take advantage of all opportunities offered.

Rebecca (18) has been a councillor since 2011, and says she wishes she could've been one longer. However, beginning her first year of a Bachelor of Creative Technologies at the Wellington Institute of Technology she has secured an interview for the Wellington Youth Council.

"Hopefully my experience and skills learnt while on the Stratford District Youth Council will help me with that."

She sees herself "owning a hovercraft" in 10 years' time and adds that she would love to start her own business in graphic design or photography "one day", or do "those jobs for organisations such as World Vision or Freeset".

She says her best experience on the council was getting to know so many amazing people. "They all taught me something and there are many memories, especially from our road trip, that I will never forget."

New chairperson Savarna Pease (18) has served on the council for six years, having held numerous positions including public relations officer, treasurer and deputy chair. Her best experience while on council is the Stratford youth centre, which will open this year.

The Stratford High student says being a youth councillor has shown her that if you stick to something you'll get to where you want to go.

This is the fourth year on council for 16-year-old Logan, and he also has held various positions. "Halfway through 2011 I became deputy chair, at the start of 2012 chairperson, halfway though 2012 treasurer, and now I am the deputy chair again. My main goal is to help support the chair and encourage all the new youth councillors to become involved helping to lead the youth in the community."

The main challenge would be to get the youth centre running efficiently, he says.

- Stratford Press

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