About 40 people attended Tuesday's candidate forum at Holyoke Health Center, and half of them were not old enough to vote. The forum was sponsored by the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, Holyoke Youth Commission, and featured candidates for Mayor, and City Council At-Large.
This was the first successful forum of the season that I got to enjoy as a audience member having worked on 3 prior. It was refreshing to see a different take on politics from the kids point on view. They asked questions like, "If you were a superhero who would you be?" Elaine Pluta answered that she would be Wonder Woman.
Dan Boyle missed the forum due to an unscheduled medical procedure on his right eye. He emailed his answers to written questions, and one of the young people read them in his place. It was unfortunate the kids didn't get to meet him in person.
The recently created Youth Vision Map was on display. It got lot of attention during a pause in the forum. Judging by what the kids put into it, they are craving somthing constructive, and entertaining to do in the downtown.
I noticed during the City Council At-Large segment how much more social this forum was. The kids talked over everything among themselves. But of coarse they would. Not having the life experiences of adults they rely on each other for knowledge and support.
The kids did a pretty good job putting this together. It's amazing how independent these young people are. I don't think I saw a single parent in the room. In my day the room would have been full of parents.
It was good to see the youth taking their place in Holyoke. For many of them this was their first exposure to politics, and I don't think they knew what to expect from the candidates, but when it was over many of the kids looked more mature. Like they had just grown up a lot in the past two hours. I wish I had videotaped it.