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Napier City Councillors try speed dating

Napier City Councillors meet their youth counterparts by 'speed dating'.Speed dating proved to be an excellent way for Napier City Councillors to get to know their youthful counterparts in a short space of time on Wednesday, June 1.

Following a presentation by ZEAL, which runs youth services in Hawke’s Bay and facilitates the Youth Council of Napier (YCON), YCON sat down for 40 seconds’ worth of introductions and idea sharing with each of the Napier councillors present and some staff, including Chief Executive Wayne Jack.

Anna Barker, a Napier Girls High School Year 12 student, says the biggest challenge for kids in Napier is “finding things to do that aren’t dodgy”.

Lealani Siaosi, deputy head girl at Taradale High, was keen on a paint party – “just music and throwing a whole lot of paint around”.

It wasn’t all about events. Thomas McDermott, in Year 11 at Napier Boys High, wanted better recognition of the good things that young people do, and for the city to have a youth focus.

YCON members aren’t sitting back waiting for others to do something, they have been generating their own ideas too. YCON has submitted to the Napier City Council 2016/17 Annual Plan, and is currently working on a youth app which will pull together all events and other things young people may be interested in or find useful in Hawke’s Bay.

YCON also instigated a semi-regular column in the Napier Courier called “Good On Ya”, highlighting young people doing good in our community.

Members have also helped Council with consultation at the Taradale Community Rooms, and are working with staff to further develop Council’s Youth Strategy.

There are plenty of services and support for the most vulnerable or at risk young people, and opportunities for high achieving sporty or academic young people, says YCON coordinator Mark Wilson of ZEAL.

“What happens to the large majority of young people that don’t fit into either of those categories? We want to work with those young people and give them a voice," Mark says.

ZEAL believed that inside every young person lay untapped potential, Mr Wilson said. 

“Young people often are viewed as problems to be solved, not potential to be harnessed. Over 53% of young people today try to start their own business, surely it is our job to cultivate and support that entrepreneurship.”

To find out more about YCON visit their Facebook page

You can also find information on the Napier City Council website using keyword #youthcouncil.

9 May 2017

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