Local Government Week preparations

As students are getting ready for school, Minto councillors are getting ready for Local Government Week.

The annual event helps to encourage students to learn more about government at the local level.

Council passed this reso­lu­tion. “Minto recognized the val­ue of offering opportunities to the town’s residents, and especially its students, to learn about local government in order to become more aware and engaged in local decision making.”

As in previous years, Minto council and staff plan to provide opportunities during the week of Oct. 18 to 24. Some include:

– essay contests on what local government responsibilities make the most difference in the student’s life;

– a drawing contest showing what students like most about the town;

– a presentation, if requested, to local schools by a member of council or an employee, with the presenter’s role and the community’s role in the de­cision-making process.

In addition, Minto will be offering one hour of free public skating time at each of its three arenas.

A display in the town hall, will highlight historical documents related to local government in the Town of Minto, the former towns of Harriston and Palmerston, the former village of Clifford, and old Minto town­ship.

Also planned is an open house inviting residents to talk to councillors and senior staff.

Further, in celebrating of Minto’s 10th anniversary, the theme of the week will be “Minting in the Town of Min­to.”

At the Oct. 21 council meeting, students with the best essay in each of the age categories will have the opportunity to be the co-mayor and co-deputy-mayor for a portion of the meeting.

Local Government Week was introduced in 2008 to provide an opportunity for Onta­rio’s citizens, especially its youth, to learn more about local government and to be­come better informed of the functions of municipalities and the decision making process. It envisions an Ontario where children, youth, and other citizens understand, and are ac­tively engaged and committed as members and future leaders of their local community.

Having a Local Govern­ment Week:

– creates and understanding of the municipality’s role in gov­ernment and its effects on the community;

– puts a face to municipal government and officials;

– links student learning to real life situations;

– creates an awareness of the range of professions and careers in local government.

Because the Aug. 12 meeting was the only council session prior to the start of the school year, the clerk’s team wanted to bring the report to council to start contacting schools as soon as possible.

Clerk-Administrator Marsha Paley wrote, “Local Government Week provides an opportunity for the Town of Minto to build awareness of the responsibilities of, and possible careers in local government as well as the specific strategic directions of the town.

“Through the essay and drawing contests and the poten­tial for presentations to be made to students, the free public skate and the open house, the town’s residents will be able to gain a better understanding of how the functions of local government affect their daily life. With this knowledge, Minto residents can play a substantial role in the decision-making process and become leaders in the community.”

Economic Development Manager Wick-Graham suggested the town have a booth to promote municipal government careers.

Councillor Wayne Martin said it might be appropriate for councillors to bring student guests to the meeting. He said that since the original idea was to bring in a couple students, it might be good to have more.

Mayor David Anderson called it “a great opportunity to get our young students involv­ed in local government.”

Martin added it would be of interest to political science students at the high school.

Deputy-mayor Judy Dirk­sen said local government is on the grade 5 curriculum, so she believes it is important to have something specifically directed to that group, because they will take advantage of it.