Future decision makers choose between regional priorities
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 9:45 a.m.
Students from around the region learned how hard making decisions can be at the annual Youth Jam in Rotorua this week.
Nearly 50 secondary students from six Bay of Plenty schools learned that the Youth Jam catchphrase "because I said so" wasn't an option when making democratic decisions.
Hosted by Bay of Plenty Regional Council Youth Jam is held annually to foster environmental awareness, youth leadership and participation in civic issues.
Corporate Services Group Manager Brian Trott said this year's focus - giving Bay of Plenty youth opportunities to take part in local government decision making processes, in particular the Regional Council's Ten Year Plan - was a first for the Council.
"We are also inviting a delegation from Youth Jam to provide feedback to Councillors on youth points of view. This is also a first for us, and hopefully it won't be the last," he said.
They heard from Regeneration, the Regional Council and the Ministry of Youth Affairs. They ran their own workshops and gave presentations. Student leaders facilitated each session.
Noise levels rose as participants discussed how to have their opinions heard and looked at different ways to make decisions and prioritise. They put their learning into practice by looking at four Regional Council priority programmes - Tauranga Harbour, Rotorua Lakes, Regional Economic Development and Public Transport.
They researched their topic and made presentations on why it was important. They looked at how a decision-making matrix could work - and found that making decisions and prioritising wasn't a simple job.
Representatives from Youth Jam will present feedback and practice making an oral submission to the Regional Council at a Ten Year Plan workshop later this month.
Tauranga Girls College Year 11 student Morgan Heslop said the best part of Youth Jam was being able to express her own views and being able to bounce them off other people.
"It's great getting the opportunity to go to council, and for them to hear the views of youth," she said.
Kawerau College's Kathleen Frewen (Year 10) enjoyed hearing the views of others on the environment and the things our youth have to say.
"I enjoyed learning about things I didn't know," she said. "I want to go into politics and put it out there to save stuff for our next generation."
Otumoetai College's Jake Anderton enjoyed the opportunity to speak freely and have fun.
"No one beats up on other people here. Everyone's open," he said.
Jack Weston, a Year Nine student from Rotorua Lakes High School, was one of the youth leaders and helped organise and manage the event.
"I learned a bit about facilitating - that it's best to break the ice at the start," he said.
His school sent a group so they could look at doing things differently.
"Doing this was starting our school on the way to go more environmentally friendly," Jack said.
The six secondary schools represented were Otumoetai College, Tauranga Girls High, Pāpāmoa College Kawerau College, Whakatāne High School, and Rotorua Lakes High School.
For further media information please contact Communications Advisor, Clare Dowthwaite on 0800 884 881 Ext 8148 or 021 989 666.
You can also view more photos from the event on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/boprc