The Youth Member on Hanover Council has attended her final meeting.
Grunthal student Austyn Dawydiuk joined council in early October of 2021. Dawydiuk says she has always had an interest in politics and learning new things. When the opportunity presented itself, she says it sounded like a good experience and decided to apply.
After a year on council, which included 110 hours of sitting through meetings, Dawydiuk has received a full credit through her school.
"It was a really positive experience, I really enjoyed it," she says. "I can honestly say it met all the expectations I had and more."
Dawydiuk says when she first applied, she did not fully understand what is involved with being on council. But, a year later, she says the work that goes on behind the scenes and the different sub-committees that councillors are part of, opened her eyes.
"I learned a lot," she says.
Dawydiuk says a highlight for her was sitting in on public hearings. She notes it was interesting to see the different points of view, whether that is from the applicant, the neighbours or council members. But she credits council for working through the different opinions in order to come to a decision.
She notes there is one other highlight.
"Outside of meetings, when I got to hang out with the guys," she recalls. "It became like a family."
Dawydiuk says the council members told her that she spoiled them with all the baking she would often bring to the meetings.
Dawydiuk attended her final council meeting on October 19th. Seven days later her father Curtis was acclaimed as the Ward Six Councillor for Hanover. Dawydiuk suggests that maybe some of her experience from the last year rubbed off onto her father.
"We often talked about it, and he understood what I was talking about so that was cool," she reflects.
Looking towards the future, Dawydiuk says there is certainly the possibility that one day she will run for council, noting this experience definitely opened her eyes to the position. But, even if that never happens, she says spending one year as Youth Member will equip her for the workplace and has given her first-hand experience in how meetings are run.