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Working as a Team . . . The Youth Council’s chairwoman Olivia Crawford and deputy chairman JB Acuna (both 17) led the first 2021 Youth Council meeting last Monday. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

The Gore District Youth Council’s newly elected chairwoman and deputy chairman hosted their first meeting at the Gore District Council building last week.

This year’s chairwoman is Blue Mountain College pupil Olivia Crawford and the deputy chairman is St Peters College’s JB Acuna.

Olivia said she felt honoured her fellow members elected her for the position.

“I think it clearly shows that there isn’t a major divide between districts, especially coming from Tapanui, so I feel very welcomed and lucky.”

She had been a part of the youth council for five years.

Being a part of the youth council meant she was more integrated in the community, she said.

“It’s about the connections you make being a part of the youth council which is a benefit.

“You meet people from the community out at events and you get to talk to the councillors and the mayor, which is an honour.”

One of the challenges the youth council would face this year was Covid-19, she said.

“Covid is something which is over our heads and we can’t control it, but it’s preparing for that possibility and looking to see what we can do.”

JB Acuna said he felt proud to be offered the role of deputy chairman.

“It is a privilege to represent people of colour in the youth council.”

He had been a part of the youth council for four years.

To be involved with the group was a pleasure as he understood the importance of youth having a voice, he said.

“Often children’s voices are not valued in a society, so it is awesome that we have the youth council.

“Also, being a part of the youth council you have a chance to give back to the community.”

The pair were looking forward to the Youth Awards and Youth Week, they said.

The Youth Awards were one of the highlights of the year as it was the youth council which organised the event, JB said.

“It is when we are most busy, but it’s the excitement and it is the build-up to it.

“I also love watching everyone get their awards and seeing them all happy.”