New team, new energy, new Junior Town Council. The 2017 Overstrand Junior Council which was inaugurated towards the end of last year, has got off to a flying start and is already operating as a completely integrated team. This project, managed by the Enlighten Education Trust, is one of which the Overstrand Municipality is justifiably proud.
Each year the six High Schools in the Overstrand elect approximately 35 Junior Councillors who have exhibited leadership potential and over their 12-month term of office, they participate in a number of activities to develop the skills not only to lead, but even more importantly, to serve their communities. The principle of identifying the needs of the most vulnerable members of society and implementing hands-on projects to make their lives a little easier is key to the entire concept.
Each year, they select several wide-ranging community projects that are tackled by the full group, as well as a number of more specific projects in different communities, which are implemented by the individual school groups.
At the beginning of this year, all the young councillors participated in a weekend-long team-building and leadership camp at Wortelgat near Stanford. This is always a highlight for them. They get to know one another through taking part in a structured programme of fun activities in which they explore their individual strengths and weaknesses, and look at developing a positive and creative mindset, a sense of responsibility, and respect for self and others.
This camp was followed by their first centralised or full council meeting, during which they discussed their proposed projects for the year. According to Unity Mtomile, the Enlighten Junior Town Council Manager, this is one of the most enthusiastic and energetic groups she has ever worked with. ‘I think this is going to be a great year for us all’, she says. ‘I look forward to great things from this group.’
Their year of community service has a profound effect on these young leaders, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the rest of their lives. In the words of Khanya Xhalasile, a previous Junior Town Councillor, ‘It has really helped me to grow and mature as a young leader. It showed me that leadership is being there for others and being willing to serve them, and that giving back is always better than receiving’.