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.
Matthew Dennison (15)
What were the highlights of the year just past?
As an Explorer Scout I attended the International Scout and Guide camp in England called ‘Wings 2014’. This was held in Windsor Great park and involved over 6,000 Scouts and Guides aged 10 to 18 years from more than 40 countries.
At a local regional level I assisted at the South East Antrim District hike, cooking, mainly sausages for the hikers. I also helped at the district quiz acting as answer checker and score keeper for the quiz. For my own group, 1st Cloughfern Cub Scouts, assisting at the weekly meetings and the occasional district event takes up about 8 – 10 hours each month.
What attracted you to the role?
Initially I needed to complete volunteer service for my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award but having completed that requirement I have continued in a volunteer role.
What are your hopes for the year 2015?
Our Cub pack will be playing in a district football tournament and I hope to help to prepare them and possibly gain a win.
The Cub Scouts will be going to camp this summer and I hope to be able to help them enjoy the whole camping experience. On a personal level I hope to go on another big international camp like ‘Wings 2014’.
2015 will be an election year: do you think it is important young people vote?
Yes. It can decide your future and in what direction the country will be taken. As voting can often be very close, 50 / 50, politicians use hyperbole too much and don’t deliver what they said they would do.
Should the voting age be lowered?
No. Children younger than 18 may not be immature but they don’t have as much knowledge in political views as those over 18. The risk is that they would vote for the candidates who look the ‘coolest’.