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Oliver and Emalea Honoured with Mayor Visit to talk Junior CouncilPosted in College Community,Primary on Wednesday, 18 March, 2020

Mandurah Catholic College newly appointed Junior Councillors Oliver Neucom and Emalea Bassett-Scarfe were honoured with a visit from City of Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams. Mayor Williams gave generously of his time last week to connect with Oliver and Emalea, in order to prepare them for this unique and important experience, and how to make the most of it.

Junior Council was created to give young people a voice in the community and provide an insight into how local government works. The members develop important skills including debating, speech writing, teamwork and community decision-making during their 12-month tenures.

Oliver explained that the Year 6 student body nominated students for Junior Council at the same time that the Head Boy and Girl elections were held. “I think we were chosen for Junior Council because we will be good leaders and our peers thought we would be better in this role, being a voice for them.”

Mayor Williams said Junior Council is a unique initiative that gives young people a chance to learn about Local Government and voice their opinions on things that matter to them. “As a former Junior Councillor, I personally understand the value of this special program and believe it is a great platform to nurture young leaders,” he said.

“Junior Council has certainly evolved since my time; it was established in 1985 and now consists of 38 year six students from 19 primary schools across Mandurah.

“Junior Councillors show us the power of their generation to make a positive contribution to our community, and we are grateful for that.”

Emalea said she is most looking forward to the added responsibility. “I already have a lot of responsibility as I am the youngest of five (5) children, but I am looking forward to more.” Emalea elaborated on how she felt it was important to have a student voice in the community; “If we didn’t have a student voice, then we would just have the teachers and adults making the decisions for us. I feel like everyone’s voices should be heard – not just the adults, and not even just the kids – but everyone.”

Oliver was really looking forward to attending Junior Council. “You get to actually have your idea heard. I think it will also be lots of fun.”

Talking to Oliver and Emalea, Mayor Williams said, “Junior council is definitely about having fun and definitely about learning about government, but it’s also about something I know that you already take seriously in this school which is citizenship and helping everyone to recognise that to make it all work we all have to do our bit.

“Sometimes young people in the community think they have to wait until they are adults to make a difference in the community, but with Junior Council it’s about saying ‘Come on – you’ve got the skills, so we need your contribution right now’.

“In Mandurah, a massive part of our population is under the age of 18, and I think if those people in our community wait until they’re adults to our contribute, then we miss out on a really good opportunity.”

Last week, many of the 38 Junior Councillors sought to take their service to the community a step further when they applied for the roles of Junior Mayor and Deputy Junior Mayor.

The Junior Council allows many wonderful young people in the city to come together to present their views, share ideas and offer up ways to make Mandurah better now and into the future. It also assists in the development, and builds the confidence of, many inspirational young leaders in our community.

Mayor Williams had a final piece of advice for Oliver and Emalea, to make the most of their time on the council. “You can sit back for a long time silently trying to find that voice, but I would encourage you to get in there early. Some practical things – make a point of asking one question every session, because it’s practice at asking questions that will help you. Just be as involved as possible. If you take half the time trying to find your voice, then you’ve only got half of the sessions left to speak up. If you wait until the end, then you might have missed the opportunity and then you haven’t made the most of it. Put yourself out there. These sorts of opportunities don’t come along very often, and you’ve been chosen by your school to represent your school community, so if that’s something you want to do, sometimes you’ve got to make that little voice of fear go away and make the most of it.”

MCC wishes Oliver and Emalea all the best for this wonderful learning opportunity.

Photo: Mayor Rhys Williams speaks with newly appointed Junior Councillors Oliver Neucom and Emalea Bassett-Scarfe

Photo: Mayor Rhys Williams with Oliver Neucom, Emalea Bassett-Scarfe and Mandurah Catholic College Principal Mr Chris Wallace