Youth Council Rep looks to engage local students

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

by Sylene Argent

Local grade nine student Ehva Hoffmann is currently the Town of Essex’s sole volunteer Youth Council Rep at the decision-making table, but she is looking to change that.

A few years ago, members of Council of the day created two Youth Council Rep positions. A youth from Wards one or two and a youth from Wards 3 or 4 were to sit at the decision-making table during regular Council meetings to provide input on topics of discussion from a younger perspective.

Last year, Hoffmann sat as the only Council rep, and is looking to recruit an interested youth member to fill the currently empty chair. Applications from a youth from any ward within the Municipality of Essex may be considered, she said.

“It’s been fun. I’ve been learning about politics,” Hoffmann said of her first year as a Youth Council Rep.
In addition, Hoffmann is looking to establish a youth-focus group. Members of this group would meet a few times a year to discuss local issues. Ideally, she would like to have a minimum of ten local high school and older elementary school students involved.

One of the topics she would like to see members of the youth-focus group discuss and tackle would be starting up the Essex Youth Centre again. She would also like the group members to engage others about what is going on politically.

Having a group consisting of politically-engaged students allows for ideas to get bounced around and the opportunity for great discussion surrounding topics that concern youth.

In the near future, Hoffmann will visit local schools on her own time to speak with civic classes. She is hoping to engage potentially interested students. She is looking for area youth who are organized, have leadership skills, and courage, to get involved.

To those who may be weary of stepping forward to get involved, Hoffmann said, “Do it. Try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep doing it. It may be something you really enjoy.”

Essex Mayor Ron McDermott and Councillor Sherry Bondy offered to support Hoffmann in her endeavour.

“I really believe strongly in having a youth member on Council. It’s great…I will play this card, I believe in having strong female role models in our community. We do not have enough of them,” Bondy said, adding Hoffmann is engaging other young females by being a role model herself.

Area youths who would like to apply to be the volunteer Youth Council Rep or would be interested in getting involved with the youth-focus group can contact Town Clerk Robert Auger at rauger@essex.ca.