By Frank Guerriero
To officially begin the 2015 Youth and Government program, the officer corps convened at the annual retreat weekend on October 18-19 to discuss plans for the next year. At this meeting, the officers were introduced to a new position, the Lead Youth Secretariat.
Admittedly, I didn’t have the faintest clue as to the role of this officer and the Youth Secretariats in general. Thankfully, I found that I wasn’t alone in my confusion, so I sat down with 2015 Lead Youth Secretariat Nicole Bathan to educate myself (and hopefully my similarly curious fellow delegates), and to discuss her plans for the coming year.
Nicole has served the Immaculata delegation for the past three years, and found out only recently that she would be leading the Youth Secretariats. She describes the current role of the Youth Secretariats as liaisons between conference and delegations, communicating dates and basic information so schools may stay in the loop with the officer corps and program advisors. During the year, Youth Secretariats, many of whom are already officers otherwise, keep up correspondence with delegation leaders, the officer corps, and general delegates. The vast majority of their work occurs leading up to conference, so anybody may be a Youth Secretariat without hindering their work at conference.
As Lead Youth Secretariat, Bathan will have work similar to the rest of the officer corps. “Essentially I’ll be running the program with the Outreach Committee. We’re going to be revamping and making everything run much more efficiently than it has in years past,” she said.
Specifically, Bathan hopes to improve the position by giving Youth Secretariats more concrete jobs. She said, “last year, we had SMART goals [an assignment to establish tangible goals for conference] but that was the only thing that they were assigned.”
This year, Nicole and the program directors hope to have Youth Secretariats expand on their duties by assigning them concrete goals they can realistically accomplish, such as lesson plans. For example, she described the first lesson plan as “generating interest and organizing your delegation. So that’s just having people sign up in advance…filling out any application your delegation offers.” Lesson plans of this sort will be assigned on a weekly basis.
In general, the plan is that the Youth Secretariats will have mostly revitalized and revamped roles in the time leading up to Pre-Leg and conference.
While the role may sounds similar to that of a regular officer, Bathan sees one difference. She said, “the personal connection…peer-to-peer connection” distinguishes them from legislative or specialized committee officers. Instead of “behind the scenes” work on conference and the events leading up to it, the Youth Secretariats interact more with delegates as personal and accessible resources.
In conclusion, Nicole wants delegates to remember that Youth Secretariats are the “critical link…that plays an integral role; you’re comfortable asking them questions, because they’re like your big buddy.”