Online vs. In-Person
by Isabella Drouillard
It's plain to see that being in T&G online is much different than in person. We interviewed Quinn Manzo, a delegate in the School Board program area, who gave us some more insight into life as a virtual delegate. Currently, Quinn is working hard with partners Angie and Tyler on writing a proposal relating to the curriculum of local schools, advocating for a two-semester course teaching about explicit bias and concepts such as propositions and how to vote. Though working online has been productive, it's much different than Quinn's prior experiences. She says she "misses hotel rooms" and would "eat the dry barbeque chicken just to be in Fresno again."
Though we have the freedom to pick better food options at home, Quinn says it's just not the same. "There's an energy in person that's just not there online." Many delegates can testify how hard it is to connect with others through zoom, whereas, in person, we can work together and bounce ideas off each other.
Quinn recalls her past experiences in the program and looks fondly back on her time in the Issues and Activism program area. Emphasizing how she loved having the opportunity to work in a program where she could make a lasting impact because she was able to connect with all other program areas and explore essential topics and participate in activities such as marches and fundraisers.
Though she misses Issues and Activism, her experience on the School Board has been great, saying it's "really casual" and allows her to be independent. She believes that the School Board has the potential to make a tremendous impact, but that it will be hard. Teens often get overlooked, especially when it comes to commenting on their own education. However, programs like this allow us to find our voice and make lasting change in areas we never thought possible.
Online Leadership Positions
by Jocelyn Romero
Delegate Bella Delgado, a chaplain for the SPPY-WY delegation, loves working in her program area. Every week she gets to write a speech about her personal life, and she enjoys this because she loves to influence/motivate her delegation. This pandemic has definitely made it harder for delegates to engage through this new virtual platform, Zoom. Thus, Bella enjoys motivating others to feel comfortable, and feel like they are within a safe environment where they could express themselves. Due to this virtual setting that we are currently working with, many delegates running for positions tend to not feel connected with the public when giving speeches. Since you can not see anyone through the webinars, nor speak to them in person, it can be a challenge. In addition, Bella mentioned that she feels like it is a lot harder to connect with other committees around her, yet she is thankful for her team that helps her out with technological challenges. Although, this year at T&G has been different/tough, Bella still feels devotion for the program as a whole. She encourages other delegates to take advantage of all the opportunities the program has to offer. She believes that you can not regret taking a leadership position within this program, and you should always talk to others to build stronger relationships with the people around you.
Another chaplain, Ella Donel, from the Palisades-Malibu delegation offered us her insight into her leadership position. She told us that being a chaplain is really fun. Similarly to Bella, she gets to write a speech every week, allowing her delegation to get to know her better, as well as take away a greater, inspiring message. She expressed how important it is to keep her fellow delegates engaged, recognizing how hard it can be to share your opinion, or even just turn on your camera. As chaplain, she does her best to raise everyone's spirits, and loves doing so, though she shared with us that this can be very difficult. She said it's hard not being able to see everybody and their reactions to what she's saying; "I get really nervous." She also touched on the factors that she can't control, like technology issues. Overall, being in a leadership position online is an incredibly unique experience, but one that is endlessly rewarding. Our two amazing leaders are living testaments as to why it's important to put ourselves out there and step into leadership positions.
City Clerk - Meet the Candidates
by Margot Barrett
Throughout the third Teens and Government Program Session, candidates ran for the elected position of City Clerk - a job that entails running all voting and election processes for the 2021-2022 Teens and Government year. This year our candidates are Ethan Shamoeil from the Palisades-Malibu Delegation and Jackson Bernard from the blank delegation. Both candidates are running for one of the most significant positions within the Teens and Government program, so before casting your vote, let us learn a little more about them, respectively, and the paths that have led them to where they are today.
Ethan is a junior who has been a part of the program for three years now. Ethan has utilized his experience within this program to both network and work on his public speaking skills. Post high school, he is considering pursuing a career in policy and law, "There's so much I can learn! I'm in City Council, and we're talking about environmental laws, which I'm also learning about in school. I joined this program to get more opinions on different topics in general, and I think it's cool that we have an opportunity to talk about real events that are going on!"
On the other hand, Jackson is currently in his second year of the program and wants to become as involved within the program as possible. He wants to take advantage of a leadership opportunity to impact as many delegates as possible. Through encouraging advisors and the adults within the program to take a step back, Jackson wants to allow delegates to elect more positions rather than merely appointing them by the program's faculty. Stating that, "it's our program, so I think we should have the opportunity to lead it. I don't want anyone being sidelined by adult leadership, as at the end of the day, we are the ones participating in the program".
When asked about their experience campaigning in a virtual environment, both candidates agreed upon how they wished the program was in person; however, they enjoy taking advantage of all the things the virtual program offers. Lastly, we concluded our interviews with both candidates by asking them about a piece of advice they would have given to themselves or another delegate their first year in the program. Ethan stated, "If you are passionate about something, go for it. Understand that it's a big commitment and hold yourself and your peers responsible for their duties, but as long as you can do something you love, do it - don't think too hard about it". While Jackson noted that "what you put into this program is what you get out of it. The more you participate in discussions, the more you talk, the more you question the candidates, the more time you truly devote yourself to this program, the more you'll get out of it in the end". Both candidates will continue their campaigning, and during our final Teens and Government session, a winner will be selected and announced.