The Stratford District Youth Council is busy working on upcoming projects.
Due to Covid-19, the Youth Council has rescheduled and changed some of their upcoming events, including the Youth Futures Expo, which has been postponed until 2021.
Co-chair Connor Giblin, 20, says youth councillors stayed connected through the lockdown with Zoom calls.
"It was nice that we had a way to stay connected."
Harmony Hanover, 17, says staying in contact with the youth councillors was important for wellbeing.
"It was nice to check up on each other and ensure we were all coping with everything going on, which personally was very helpful.
"Also it helped us to continue to change our plans based on lockdown and other circumstances surrounding Covid-19."
As well as staying connected with each other, the Youth Council used social media to stay connected with the district's youth.
"Our public relations officer, Ella Coulton, set up the dress-up Friday challenge. It was very helpful and lifted spirits. It helped us complete something together although we were apart," Connor says.
The Youth Council had their first face to face meeting on June 2.
"It was great to be meeting under more normal conditions. It was nice to see everyone again and get back into some normality. We discussed the postponement of the Youth Futures Expo and our upcoming projects," Connor says.
Harmony says the Youth Council are thankful to the elected members who've been attending the meetings.
"Having councillors present at our meeting has both pushed our thinking and opened up new discussions surrounding future plans and direction for the Youth Council.
"It has also given us the opportunity to become more familiar with those on the Council and what they each stand for, as well as what the council stands for as a whole."
The next project the Youth Council is planning is an On The Bus event.
Connor says they're in the planning stage and is hoping the event will run soon.
"For our events, we usually travel out of the Stratford District but this time we thought it would be better to support our local businesses. We're hoping to bring the local community together.
"We're looking at the possibility of a movie and activities at the TET Kings Theatre in Stratford."
The Youth Council is also planning to co-host a meet the candidates evening with the Positive Ageing Group before the general election in September.
"This is so the community can meet the local MPs. It's important for youth to be involved and interested in politics so they have an understanding of what is happening in our country."
The Youth Council election, usually held in July, has been postponed until further notice, he says.
"However, we are thinking of changing the term from July-July to January to December. This would be more helpful as it fits in with the school year and makes it easier for students heading to university as they don't have to leave halfway through the term."
Harmony says Youth Council is an amazing opportunity.
"You can grow or create skills, such as public speaking and event planning, represent the youth's opinions and find practical ways to implement these in council legislation and events.
"We are very lucky to have a Youth Council in Stratford, when there are not many around the country, let alone in Taranaki. Often youth may feel overlooked but this gives us the platform to have our say."
Connor says he encourages people to nominate someone who has gone above and beyond for a Youth Citizen Award this month.
"We need to recognise the efforts of our youth and what they do in our community."
■ For information about Youth Council and their upcoming projects, visit the Stratford District Youth Council Facebook page.