I managed to grab Jenna Claridge, Rhondda Cynon Taff’s new Youth Mayor for an hour for an exclusive interview to learn more about her role, the youth forums, what makes her tick, some in-depth discussions on newsworthy topics and a quick fire “or” game!
Q: Hello, Jenna!
A: Hi, Martyn!
Q: So, can you describe yourself in five words?
A: Ooh, difficult, but…this may take some time. Ok – hyper, different, indecisive (and I mean, so indecisive), I don’t want to sound big-headed, but I’m quite funny, and I guess outgoing.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Drama, I love to sing and act, I like rugby and running, and I play piano.
Q: What animal would you be if you could be one?
A: Hmm, I’m going to get deep by here, but I’d be a cheetah or a leopard, because they’re fast, free and independent.
Q: Five people you’d invite to a dinner party, dead or alive?
A: One Direction, do they count as five? But if they’re busy gigging, then I’d need someone who’s a good laugh, like Michael McIntyre. I’d have Ed Sheeran, a little bit for a chat, a little bit for a laugh, and a little bit for the music. James O’Connor and Tom Daley for a bit of eye candy, and Rita Ora – she’s definitely my female crush, I love her style!
Q: Ok, how about we play the “Or” Game, I’ll give you two options, you pick one?
A: I like this game.
Pepsi or coke?
Coke, full fat!
Twilight or Harry Potter?
NO! That’s so hard, I think I was too young to fully appreciate Harry Potter, and I’ve never read the books but I love, love, love the films! But, I am way more excited for the final “Breaking Dawn” than I was for the “Deathly Hallows” films.
Vanilla or Chocolate?
Cats or dogs?
Summer or Winter?
Day or Night?
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee, but only if it’s Starbucks’ Macchiato, other than that it’s tea everytime!
Q: What’s your favourite band?
A: It’s super sad, but I just love One Direction.
Q: Favourite film?
A: No question, “Billy Elliot”.
Q: Favourite food?
A: Italian, I love Italian food – pasta, pizza, anything! If Italy isn’t on the table, I guess Mexican.
Q: Ideal place to live?
A: Australia, right by the beach. Before this interview I was watching “New Bondi Rescue” and it’s my ideal job, a lifeguard on the Aussie beaches!
Q: Star Sign?
A: I’m a Libra, what about you?
This is where me and Jenna went on a tangent about star signs!
Jenna: Oh, one of my best friends is a Leo, my brother is a Scorpio.
M: In my house we have two Leos, a Taurus, an Aries and a Sagittarius.
J: I don’t have much experience with Taurus’, but my other friend is a typical Virgo, I tell her all the time.
M: Do you do that thing where someone says something and you’re just like “Oh my god, you’re such a Capricorn”.
J: Yes! I thought it was just me!
M: I could talk about this all day.
J: Me too, but I don’t think the interview would be that informative!
M: You’re right, OK. *cough*
Q: What is it that the Youth Mayor does?
A: The Youth Mayor is an ambassador for the youth of R.C.T, and must represent young people in a positive light and be a role model. It’s also my role to carry out and promote the work started by the youth forums.
Q: How did you become the Youth Mayor?
A: My youth forum in Bryn Celynnog told me about the opportunity and the members chose me to go through to speak at the annual Youth Participation Conference in 2011. I was elected Deputy by a ballot box by the young people. I spent a year as Deputy with Lewis Jevons as the Youth Mayor. I was inaugurated in May this year. The only criteria are that you have to be 16 to be the Youth Mayor, but I was 15 while I was Deputy.
Q: What experience do you have and what interested you in the role?
A: I feel strongly about young people, and about asking them their opinions. I felt like if they were asked something, nothing was ever really done about it. I have confidence and the motivation to push issues that need to be pushed, and that’s originally why I joined my youth forum two years ago.
Q: Could you tell us the benefits of being a member of a youth forum?
A: You know what’s going on for young people around the place, you voice your opinions, you see things get done which is nice, you see changes in the area, make community links, and at the annual conference you all decide the topic which concerns young people the most and it’s interesting to compare all the views. Last year we worked on the issue of Sexual Health.
Q: What is the difference between the school council and the youth forums?
A: The council in my school at least was very focused on the school environment, and Bryn Celynnog is a member of the eco-flag scheme, so they’re big on keeping standards up! The youth forums are about people – both just talk about different things.
Q: What are your chosen charities over the next year?
A: Mine is the Lea Beth charity – she was a girl in my school who was diagnosed with cancer from a young age – her last wish was that her parents set up a charity to help raise money for other young people with cancer to have their last wish (To be confirmed).
Q: What events do you have coming up?
A: I have two coming up at the moment; one is the Griffin Mill Student of the Year Awards in September, where last year we gave out trophies to all the finalists. I like it because it’s a range of talent and not strictly about academics. I’m also attending the Sea Cadets Inspection Evening where I get to meet all the members.
Q: How can people request you at their events?
A: You have to e-mail a booking form to the Youth Integration Team, which you can get from Janice Watkins on Janice.firstname.lastname@example.org and then we work to together to confirm it and see if I’m available. It’s really handy because I don’t have to worry about the dress code!
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I’m looking forward to doing my A-Levels in Biology, Physics, Maths and Business Studies and after that I don’t know what career I want, but I might look for an apprenticeship.
For more information on the Youth Mayor, keep WICID.tv on your browser, soon we will be setting up a system by which you can ask the Youth Mayor and Deputy Youth Mayor things that they can take forward on your behalf, and make a change.