With 2015 an election year, the Times hears the views of young people in the borough who are playing a role in the wider community on subjects ranging from whether the voting age should be lowered to the merits of volunteering and helping others.
John Mackey (17)
Young Leader, Cub Scouts
What were the highlights of the year just past?
As a Young Leader in a Cub Scout pack, attending the annual Cub camp in May 2014 was a definite highlight. Generally looking after and keeping an eye on the wellbeing of the young Cubs, aged 8 – 11 years, helping with camp activities and catering were my main duties.
Assisting at South East Antrim District Cub Scout events are also highlights; score keeping at quizzes and cooking many, many sausages for hungry Cubs on their Halloween night hike.
What attracted you to the role?
Through the Duke of Edinburgh Award service requirements I started as a helper in Cloughfern Cub Scouts in 2012 and enjoyed my experience so much I decided to stay on as Young Leader within the Scout movement. I was impressed by the friendly Cloughfern leaders who were good at what they do in allowing the Cub Scouts to develop as young people.
What are your hopes for the 2015?
To be able to continue my work in the leadership team of Cloughfern Scout group and play an active role in the activities and events of the Scout group and South East Antrim District.
That Scouting in South East Antrim in general and Cloughfern in particular continues to grow from strength to strength.
What would you like to see from political / community leaders in 2015?
I feel that local councils should provide grants to Scout and other youth groups in their community to allow the youth groups to vary and enlarge their programmes.
Assistance with promotion, advertising etc, to promote the work of youth groups: especially in the areas with many schools.
2015 will be an election year: do you think it is important young people vote?
Yes. Voting allows young people to voice their opinions on topics which matter to them: within their own communities and further afield. By not voting some young people are throwing away their opportunity to make their opinions heard.
Should the voting age be lowered?
Yes. All people aged 16 and over should have the chance to express their opinions as they are old enough to work. Young people should be able to vote: their political views may change the political landscape of Northern Ireland and the UK.