The City of Lacombe recently played host to 10 Grade 6 students who won the right to be Mayor for a Day.
Each of the students submitted an essay at their school regarding municipal government issues affecting Lacombe, all of which were read by Mayor Grant Creasey and his staff.
The best essays from the City were selected and the winners won a meet-and-greet with the Mayor and Council, as well as the opportunity to debate the ideas expressed in their essays during a mock Council meeting.
“When students are in Grade six, they learn about local government and how it works,” Sonya Beauclair, administrative assistant for the City of Lacombe Recreation and Culture department, said.
“One of the ways we help support that is to have them all write an essay on what they think should be tackled or dealt with by the City.”
Creasey said they received many well-written essays.
“It was not an easy choice and unfortunately we could only have one winner per class,” he said. “We were able to make some choices and I am glad to see the kids who were able to make it today.
“It was interesting reading through the essays to see a lot of the same issues (that adult voters express), including common ones like littering and sidewalks — and all the way up to cannabis legislation.”
Beauclair added, “Some of the issues they will talk about is the five-way stop and the safety regarding that, littering issues and all sorts of different things. It is really interesting to hear some of the things they notice or that they think could be improved.”
Creasey said the Mayor for a Day program shows young people take genuine interest in their municipality.
“There is always more to what goes into decisions and policies than what people give credit for,” he said.
“I am looking forward to the input these youngsters have that affects everyone. I certainly expect to see some future leaders here, which is exciting and it was nice to visit them in their classrooms — several of which were the same classrooms that I spent some time in many years ago.”
Beauclair said it is amazing to see Grade 6 students have a personal association with government.
“I think they find it interesting now and maybe by the time they get to high school, we will be able to reduce some of the issues like littering,” she said. “They have sat here and talked about why it is bad and now they can be better ambassadors in the community.”
Creasey added, “It is great to have them here and I am glad most of the Councillors were here today. It makes for a well-rounded day when we are all here to give them some input.”