We’ve all heard of that cliché saying that tells us that ‘the children are our future’, but in all honesty, it goes deeper than that. Children are also our present, and as the youth of Aotearoa, we are able to empower ourselves, and make a difference right now.
I received the lucky opportunity to attend the 2014 Howick Youth Conference, as one of the ten students from Macleans College, one of the schools in the Howick ward that attended the event. It was a stimulating experience filled with various hands on workshops; insightful presentations from knowledgeable guest speakers, such as an explanation of the roles and priorities of the Howick Local board, and a presentation from YouthLaw; and an open forum on the question of synthetic highs to end the day.
One of the best things about this conference was its emphasis on delegate engagement. You were encouraged to express your opinions, and to reflect on the opinions of others. I met some of the many fantastic young leaders around our area, and it’s amazing to realize how many talented individuals we have in the Howick area alone.
If I could sum up all that I learnt at the conference into one sentence, it would be that youth are capable of creating change. Our opinions genuinely matter, and there are people who care about what we have to say. I highly recommend you all to get involved in your community, and contribute to making Howick a better place now, in the present, instead of waiting for the elusive future to roll around.
I’ll leave you with a loosely relevant Zen Pencil comic, because it’s fantastic. zenpencils.com/comic/150-jim-henson-a-puppeteers-advice/ We are not victims of adolescence, and we are as in control of our lives as anyone else is. Start contributing now, there really isn’t anything holding us back.
By Wendy Lee. Edited by Keniel Yao.
The event was organized by the Howick Youth Council (www.facebook.com/HowickYouthCouncil) which serves as the advocate for youth in the Howick and Greater Auckland community. The council organises events, submissions on behalf of youth on Auckland policy, and engages in workshops to learn more about the functioning of local government politics. The Macleans College representatives on the council are: Keniel Yao, Eric Soakai, Saffron Huang, Veisinia Maka, and Alina Lin. Feel free to approach them if you have any questions or suggestions- that’s what they are here for!