On the 26th and 27th of September, the Christchurch Youth Council with support from Youth Voice Canterbury and PYLAT hosted Youth Focus: Local Election Q&A 2016. The purpose of Youth Focus was to involve youth in the process of voting for the next local government and hearing the opinions of candidates on youth issues. Young people are the future in any community, and their voices need to be heard at all times but especially during an election period. We were very lucky to have such strong support from different community groups including the locations of both events the Undercroft at the University of Canterbury and St John of God Waipuna. Many candidates running for a position in council and boards were very supportive in their attendance and promotion. We aimed for Youth Focus to be an environment that young people felt invited to speak and/ or listen to what plans for the future of Christchurch. The formality of other events can turn away youth and we hoped to create a friendly event that would support youth engagement. The atmosphere of Youth Focus was one of discussion and collaboration that we hope continues in the coming years with the elected members of the council and community boards. There was a positive turnout at both events that will develop a stronger relationship between youth and local government. Candidates offered very innovative ideas for youth engagement in their community that we look forward to seeing develop.
Key topics and ideas discussed at Youth Focus included
These ideas are important efforts that will support the process of reconnecting youth with local government. The excitement over youth engagement could flourish into future events and discussion that will assist the rebuild of Christchurch. The event of Youth Focus was a step in the right direction to enhance the participation of young people in Christchurch both in national and local government process.
On the 15th of September we invited all potential and existing CYC members to an orientation evening. This gave potential new members a chance to meet and greet the team, find out more about the member role and CYC as an organisation, and ultimately see if CYC is a good fit for them!
With an awesome attendance response from all, we kicked off the night with the formal stuff. Letting the new guys know what our expectations are, what we strive to achieve and why we do it. This was received well, and enthusiasm stayed high!
Next came the fun stuff, in a speed dating style, we organised ourselves into groups of two and spent a minute talking to each other about some important and some less important questions for rangatahi in Christchurch - ‘Does pineapple belong on Pizza?’, ‘Trump or Hillary?’, ‘What are your two favourite things about Christchurch?’ and ‘What are some best ways for young people to keep on track with their wellbeing?’. This gave us a cool insight into other people's perspective, what is important to them and how they can see themselves working toward making Otautahi an awesome place!
After a whole lot of pizza, we used this opportunity to launch our ‘focus groups’ - an initiative which we are replace last year's ‘passion projects’. We found that while passion projects saw many successful projects to completion, it may be more effective to link up those passionate average about similar things into focus groups. We launched three group focusing on wellbeing, civics and environment. These focus groups will be the go to group for external organisations, will be leading on their related events and submissions, and overall champions of each section.
The night was thoroughly successful and enjoyable. We are pleased to announce our 15 new members:
We are very excited to see what our new members and focus groups will be able to achieve in the coming months!
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