Two local youth get the honour of being Mayor and Deputy Mayor for a day
On October 18, in honour of Local Government Week, North Grenville’s Council went through some personnel changes – well, temporary ones. A contest wherein local youth were asked to write an essay as an application to become Mayor or Deputy Mayor for a day ended in two 14-year-old scholars taking the political reins last Wednesday.
St. Mike’s student Benjamin (Ben) McKenna was deputized as Mayor, and Miles Dockendorff, who lives in Kemptville and attends school in Barrhaven, was made Deputy Mayor. The boys enjoyed a swearing-in ceremony, followed by a flag raising ceremony. They then met senior staff, toured municipal facilities, attended meetings, and presided over their very own press conference. Mayor Ben was even presented with the new Chain of Office by Clerk Chloe Preston after he was sworn in.
“We were thrilled to welcome two youth leaders for the day to learn more about the inner workings of municipal government and express their vision for North Grenville’s future. It was an honour to spend the day with them and I hope they continue to be involved in our community,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford.
At the media conference, Mayor Ben stated that he submitted an essay for the contest because he wanted to have an impact on North Grenville. His essay specifically argued that an indoor recreational facility is needed locally to help people stay active year round.
“I thought it was great,” Deputy Mayor Miles said of the experience. “I really enjoyed it, I learned a lot about how the Municipality works.” He was interested in the contest because he believes it’s important for young people to have an opportunity to share their unique viewpoints, experiences, and opinions on local issues. Like Mayor Ben, Deputy Mayor Miles believes that an indoor recreational facility would be beneficial as well as better transportation infrastructure locally. The boys also discussed environmental issues with department heads. Neither is a social media user, so they didn’t take over the Municipality’s Instagram account for the day, even though the offer was there.
When he grows up, Mayor Ben would like to be a brain surgeon, though he would consider taking a more permanent Mayor’s position at some point along the road. Deputy Mayor Miles does not quite have his mind made up yet on his future career, telling reporters that he is torn between being an archeologist, a physicist, or a politician.
“We’ve kept them really busy and engaged,” Mayor Peckford added. “They’ve received a lot of information and asked some really good questions, and I think [they’ve] gotten some really good insight into what it’s like to be Mayor and Deputy Mayor for a day.”
The Municipality intends to run the Youth Mayor/Deputy Mayor for a Day as an annual contest. It is hoped that Mayor Ben and Deputy Mayor Miles will attend at least one meeting of the Youth Advisory Committee in the months ahead.