The 2023/24 Mitchell Youth Council has been officially sworn in by Victoria’s Mitchell Shire Council.
Council says the youth council is a way for young people aged 12-24 to have their voices heard on issues that impact them and advocate for all young people in the Shire.
This year’s Youth Council comprises young people from across the Shire with a range of passions and interests, said Mayor, Fiona Stevens.
“As Senior Councillors, the insights we receive regarding the amenities and services desired by Mitchell Shire’s youth are of immense value,” the Mayor said.
“I look forward to working with the Youth Council and gaining deeper understanding of how we can improve the wellbeing of our young people in Mitchell.
“I applaud these thirteen emerging leaders for taking the initiative and dedicating themselves to the betterment of their communities.
“These opportunities often lead to participants continuing to be involved in various leadership roles within their community and they may even end up becoming Senior Councillors, which would be a wonderful outcome,” she said.
New faces are joining previous Youth Council members who have returned for their second and even third years.
Returning for his second year on the Youth Council, Bailey White is set to continue his impactful representation of the Central Ward, Council said in a statement.
A student at Broadford Secondary College, Bailey has honed his leadership skills through positions on the Junior School Council, as School Captain, and on the Student Representative Council.
His dedication to community representation and providing assistance to others will undoubtedly continue to enhance the Youth Council’s mission.
“I joined Youth Council as I have a passion for helping others within my community and wanted to express new ideas and future prospects on behalf of those in my age group,” says Bailey.
“Youth council provides a lot of opportunities. Last year we did emotional intelligence training with the Australian School of Entrepreneurship and learnt about the many different aspects of a person’s feelings and emotions.
“I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to participate in this type of training if not for Youth Council.
“There are a few current projects I’d like to continue working on such as the No Quarry campaign and organising barista training workshops.
“However, there are many future projects I’d like to put forward on behalf of the community including multiple skill workshops, competitions, fundraisers and awareness raising campaigns,” he said.
Making her inaugural appearance on the Youth Council, Danielle Spratling proudly stands as the representative for the Central Ward.
Currently, Danielle is navigating her final year at Broadford Secondary College with distinction as the College Captain, a testament to her dedication and leadership abilities.
In her role, she has proven her exceptional leadership skills through her significant contributions across various school initiatives, instigating positive transformations.
Beyond the school grounds, Danielle has shown a remarkable commitment to community involvement.
She has spearheaded numerous community projects, including the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence, fundraising, and volunteering as a member of the CFA.
“The Youth Council sounded like a perfect opportunity to get involved in local government and make a difference for young people in Mitchell Shire,” says Danielle.
“I joined because I want to make sure young people are being represented, factored into important conversations and their struggles are being appropriately addressed.
“I want to focus on youth health, especially physical health and health literacy following the pandemic and the prevalence of family violence in Mitchell Shire and its impact on our youth.
“I’m also passionate about local sporting clubs and helping to support them. They have many physical and mental health benefits, but also help to foster a sense of community.
“I really like this group of Youth Councillors and can’t wait to work together with them to support positive change,” she said.
Ayla Davis is stepping into her first year on the Youth Council as a representative for the North Ward.
In addition to her Year 11 studies at GOTAFE in Seymour, Ayla finds time to volunteer to support greyhound adoption, demonstrating her altruistic spirit.
Her leadership skills are evident, and she is not hesitant to advocate for her peers.
Evie Birks is making her debut as the representative for the North Ward on the Youth Council.
Her seasoned leadership experience, reflected in her pivotal roles on the Student Representative Council and as a Patrol Leader for the Scouts, is sure to make a substantial difference.
Evie has a passion for fostering opportunities that encourage young individuals to establish meaningful connections within their community.
Her dedication to youth empowerment and community engagement is the driving force behind her work.
Entering her second year on the Youth Council, Hannah Handford is poised to be a strong voice for the North Ward once again.
As a student at St Mary’s College in Seymour, Hannah combines her love for art with her academic pursuits.
Her passion for mental and physical health will bring vibrancy to her work on the Youth Council.
Cena Marshall is making her debut this year as a representative for the North Ward on the Youth Council.
As a diligent Year 9 student at Seymour College, Cena balances her academic life with active participation in Seymour Youth Room activities.
Her passion for community service sets her apart, and her belief in the power of helping others is sure to shape her contributions to the Youth Council’s work this year.
Taylah Macdonald, representing the North Ward, makes her debut on the Youth Council this year.
Her commitment to community development has been apparent in her volunteer work during Seymour’s recent floods, where she was an integral part of the relief efforts at the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Taylah’s proven leadership skills are anticipated to translate into an active and influential role on the Youth Council.
Heidi Banks is another newcomer to the Youth Council this year, also representing the North Ward.
Currently in Year 6 at Seymour College, Heidi has shown an ardent commitment to environmental issues, actively participating in Clean Up Australia Day events.
Her eco-conscious advocacy is certain to bring a fresh and important perspective to the Youth Council.
Embarking on his second tenure, Nic Houghton is diligently continuing his representation of the North Ward on the Youth Council.
As a student at St. Mary’s College in Seymour, Nic adeptly balances academic pursuits with civic responsibilities.
During the past year, he has demonstrated exemplary communication and social skills in his role as Secretary of the Youth Council.
His natural affinity for connecting with others underscores his value as a member of the team.
Jeremy Stute steps into his first year on the Youth Council, representing the Central Ward with a particular focus on inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community.
Currently studying at Broadford Secondary School, Jeremy is a valued member of OAC (Of All Colours), where he contributed to the organisation of a Pride Day for students.
His passion for inclusivity will serve to broaden the Council’s approach to diversity.
Elena Skala is embarking on her first year on Youth Council, representing the Central Ward.
Elena is currently in year 7 at Broadford Secondary College and has demonstrated leaderships skills through her roles on junior school council.
Cooper Price, an experienced member of the Youth Council, returns for his third year, representing the South Ward.
A student at Wallan Secondary College, Cooper has been a strong voice for issues of equality, safety, and community connection.
He has proved to be a formidable advocate for the No Quarry campaign and a mentor for the younger members on the Youth Council.
Jack Jones is making his debut on the Youth Council as a representative of the South Ward.
A natural leader, Jack is in Year 9 at Wallan Secondary College, and has shown a knack for understanding diverse perspectives.
He actively volunteers for Aussie Hoops, teaching basketball skills to children aged 4 to10, demonstrating his commitment to community and youth development.