Ocean Grove teen joins Youth Council

May 21, 2020 BY

Ocean Grove teenager Sam Leonard has been elected into the City of Greater Geelong’s Youth Council to represent the Bellarine ward.

OCEAN Grove’s Sam Leonard, 15, is the newest member of the City of Greater Geelong’s Youth Council, taking on the role as the Bellarine ward representative.
Sam narrowly missed out on the role earlier this year after receiving the second highest amount of votes to Elkin Wittenberg; Ms Wittenberg recently relocated outside of the municipality, tendering her resignation and vacating the role.
“I applied for the role because it’s such a great opportunity to make a difference in the community and have a say in local government,” Sam said.
The Year 9 St Joseph’s College Geelong student has future ambitions to work in government and thinks it’s important youth have a voice.
“We are the future and we should have a say in what our future looks like.”
Challenges facing youth today include peer pressure, something that can be remedied by a presence in governance according to Sam.
“Many youth get peer pressured into doing things they know they shouldn’t be doing and aren’t assertive enough to tell people they don’t want to do it,” he said.
“Youth can make a difference by being forward thinking and using their voice to let others know about their ideas and what needs to be done to make the region better.
“Mental health and wellbeing, environment and sustainability and safe and accessible communities are the areas the Youth Council and I, think we need to be providing a youth voice for.”
City of Greater Geelong junior mayor Farzana Hussaini said he was “excited to welcome Sam to the group” on behalf of the Youth Council, while mayor Stephanie Asher said the group was already making a difference in their second year.
“I congratulate Sam for putting his hand up to represent the Bellarine ward, and welcome him to local government,” Cr Asher said.
“While only in its second year, the Youth Council is already making a real difference in the community and providing a platform for young people to share their view on important issues.
“At Council we value the contribution of our junior councillors and look forward to building that connection in the future.”
Sam will be formally introduced to his Youth Council peers this month, before taking his seat as an official member at the June 1 meeting.

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