Outgoing Town of Inuvik youth representative Mataya Gillis has nothing but praise for the position.
Having just finished her term observing how municipal and territorial government functions, the 16-year-old student said she learned a huge amount in the volunteer position.
“I really liked it, you got to hear what was happening in our community and I was able to speak up about issues that concerned me,” she said. “This was such a great opportunity for shadowing and just learning from everyone and seeing how politics in our community happened.”
With the seat vacant, Mayor Natasha Kulikowski has put out the call for the next future leader to blossom out of East Three Secondary School. The main requirement is having an interest in government and the gig comes with a bursary of up to $5,000.
Noting that town council has kept the position going for over 20 years, Kulikowski said the bursary awarded depends on the level of attendance for the youth rep. She added much of the position was up to the student him or herself.
“In the past we’ve had students who put together a monthly report of what was happening at the school they presented at the meetings, it varies on the student and how much they want to do,” she said. “We’re excited to always have someone there, and if we can help a student with post-secondary education then all the better.
“For every meeting they attend, a certain amount goes towards the bursary. When they apply to school they can apply to have that money given to them as a bursary for school.”
Inuvik’s Youth Representative position is open to students in Grades 10-12. Anyone interested in the chair is asked to write a small letter of interest at the East Three Secondary School office.
Being youth representative involves attending four council meetings a month — two Committee of the Whole meetings where council is educated on the background of the issues to be voted on that week and two Regular Council meetings where council actually makes decisions on those files. They also sit on one of the town’s committees which prepare documents and recommendations for council.
Being representative also opens up future opportunities. Current town councillor Dez Loreen was also the town’s youth representative in high school.
Gillis said it’s an opportunity her peers should not pass up.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and just know that everyone on council wants the best for you and are willing to support you,” she said. “If you get a chance to be apart of it take it it’s a amazing opportunity.
“Thank you to the town for opening that spot for youth to learn and build their skills.”
The town is accepting applications until Oct. 15.