Junior council members Monica Rawlek (left)

Junior council members Monica Rawlek (left)

City’s junior council empowers youth

Leadership skills, confidence and making a difference.

Leadership skills, confidence and making a difference. These are some of the things youth who participated in Williams Lake’s junior council this last year said they experienced.

In fact, Grade 11 student Monica Rawlek intends to continue on the council.

“People our age might think it’s going to be scary or superficial, but we were always learning new things,” she said.

The council meets every second week after school with the city’s manager of social development Anne Burrill and city councillor Geoff Bourdon.

They also take turns attending committee of the whole (COW) meetings, where there’s a seat at the table for the youth to join in discussions, even though they cannot vote.

Monica said it was interesting to learn how council works.

Watching something go to the COW meeting table and then to regular council meetings.

Hanna Hett graduated this year so she won’t be returning to the council, however, she enjoyed serving a one-year term and felt she had a chance to make a difference.

“It also gives youth knowledge about current events in the city — things I would have never known about before,” Hanna said. “We also watched how council solves problems.”

Along with council member Gagan Vaid, who also graduated this year, Hanna co-ordinated Pay It Forward Day in Williams Lake this year.

They were responsible for planning and felt it made a difference.

“Outside of Safeway a man said, ‘there are actually nice people here,’” Hanna recalled.

Each year the new council participates in a leadership workshop with a fun trainer, followed by a tour of all the city’s facilities.

For newcomers who don’t know each other, the workshop is always a great way to get to know everyone, the youth said.

After the training the group decides projects for the upcoming year and this year was a busy one.

Aside from Pay it Forward Day, Monica attended a City’s Fit For Children conference in Surrey, council members participated in the city’s 85th birthday celebration and two members co-ordinated a volunteer fair for students at Lake City Secondary’s Williams Lake campus.

“They learn how to plan a project, bring it to city council for approval, and then implement it, Burrill said.

It was also a big year for junior council politically because a resolution the group put forward at the North Central Local Government Association urging the creation of a youth caucus was adopted and will go the Union of B.C. Municipalities in the fall.

“Junior council has actively effected change at a provincial level,” Burrill suggested.

City council has put out a call for interested youth to apply by Aug. 13, and Hanna hopes youth will step forward.

They might think it’s boring, but it’s not, she said.

“I was really surprised at how much we got to decide. I want to thank Anne for backing us up, working for us and helping us out,” she smiled.

Membership on the council is open to students Grades 10 through 12. Terms are one year with a maximum of two terms and meetings are scheduled according to what works best for the group.

Other members of the council this year were Tanner Nickel, Rebekah Corbett and Brooklyn Thiessen.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

(File photo)
Firearms offence at McLeese Lake tree planting camp under RCMP investigation

On May 10 Williams Lake RCMP were called to the camp, located at the 2200 block of Beaver Lake Rd.

Lil Mack has been a member of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lil Mack of Williams Lake honoured with BC Achievement Community Award

Mack has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for several decades

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) announced Tuesday, May 11 that all washrooms on its Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses will have free menstrual products by September. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
TRU to provide free hygiene products in all washrooms by fall 2021

“By signing the United Way’s Promise campaign, TRU aims to reduce barriers facing some students.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read