MEMBERS of Horsham council's first ever youth council are making waves.
The youth council was formed in August and has 20 members aged between 12 to 25.
The council will report to Horsham Rural City councillors on the views of young people regarding council plans and programs. In return, councillors will provide members of the youth council with mentoring and support.
Horsham council's youth engagement and planning officer Annie Mintern said the formation of a youth council was a key action of the council's Youth Strategy, which was adopted last year.
"We felt like there was a bit of a gap in the council's services for youth. The youth council's responsibilities will be determined as it evolves over time," she said.
"We were looking for a diverse group of people with different ages, cultural backgrounds and schools. It was important to have all of the schools represented."
The council has four priority areas that it will focus on next year: environmental issues; alcohol and other drugs; mental and physical health; and things to do in Horsham.
"Environmental issues wasn't included in the initial Youth Strategy, but I found that it was the number one concern for the youth council," Ms Mintern said.
"Because we've got such a big group, we will probably break-up into smaller groups and have people focus on the issues that concern them the most.
"They have been so enthusiastic; I've been so please with how it's going. There are a few members who have been quieter than others, but they are still showing up and listening.
"They don't have to contribute if they don't want to, but I'm sure they'll get more comfortable as we go along."
The council will meet on a monthly basis. Youth councillors will serve a two year term.
Meet the youth councillors:
Armani Scollary, 13
HORSHAM'S Holy Trinity Lutheran College student Armani Scollary joined the youth council because she wanted to get more experience in leadership roles.
"I also wanted to be more involved in the community. I don't have any leadership roles at the moment, but in 2018 I was school captain," she said.
"I've really enjoyed meeting different people in the community through the council and thinking about new ideas that can help the community."
She said the council should focus on taking advantage of what Horsham had to offer.
"We should be looking at ways to use the river area more often, for example, and give young people more things to do down there," she said.
Scarlett Munday-Terry, 13
HORSHAM'S St Brigid's College student Scarlett Munday-Terry said she wanted to join the council so that young people could have more of a say in their community.
"The thing that made me want to apply for the youth council was so young people could have a say. There are a lot of things around Horsham that we can do better," she said.
"I want to see more things for young people that aren't too expensive, and that we can do after school or on weekends; I would also like to see more hangout spots.
"Right now we're really focusing on what's going to happen to the old Nexus building. It's been great to get to know the other youth councillors in a different environment."
Scarlett said she wanted to be involved in local government when she grew up.
"I don't know what I want to do after high school yet, but I want to do something that helps the community," she said.
Michael Collins-Clarke, 16
MURTOA College student Michael Collins-Clarke said he wanted to join the council to try something new.
"This is kind of the first community thing I've been a part of," he said.
He said he'd like the youth council to help young people "fit in" more and focus on how they can stamp out bullying behaviour.
Isabelle Oman, 17
HORSHAM College student Isabelle Oman said she joined the council because she wanted to have a say in what happened around Horsham.
"There are a lot of things that I'm passionate about. I wanted to be involved in something that could actually make a difference and improve the lives of young people who live here," she said.
"Mental health is probably the biggest issue facing young people. I think a lot of young people are also concerned about environmental issues.
"In Horsham there is a lack of places for young people to hang out, which is part of living in a country town."
She was pleased with the work the youth council was doing to revive the Nexus building.
"It will be great to make that a space where young people can hang out and appeal to a wide range of people," she said.
Lily Materne, 18
FORMER Horsham College student Lily Materne finished year 12 this year. Lily said she joined the youth council because she wanted to know what was happening in her community.
"I also wanted to find out what changes I could make to make it a better place for my family and friends to live in," she said.
Lily is also a member of headspace Horsham's Youth Reference Group and is a youth leader at her church.
"I've been working with headspace on alcohol and other drug awareness, and changing that dynamic of peer pressure," she said.
"I think the council is hitting the nail on the head with involving the young people in Horsham into a lot of decisions. This town belongs to all of us.
"Sustainability is another big thing. Making sure that future generations are happy and healthy with what we've left them."
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