As every year, elections were recently held for the position of Animal Corner Trustees at the Ben Yakir Youth Village. Those elected assume responsibility for the animals in the animal corner and the stables at the village.
The animal corner elections are based on three ideas:
- To learn about the concept of “democracy” and gain practical experience of the democratic process.
- To allow the students actual impact on life at the village, so that not everything is dictated and determined by the staff.
- Taking responsibility and developing individual abilities (responsibility is assumed for a period of time).
This year, too, demand was high and 40 out of 80 of the younger students submitted their candidacy. High school students did not take part in the elections.
After the final list of candidates was published the students began marketing and publicizing their candidacy, through personal conversations, and signs and posters over a number of days.
On the day of the elections all the students came to vote (a far higher percentage than takes part in the general elections…). In addition, a large number of members of staff (teachers, instructors and administration staff) attended. The vote was a secret vote with slips deposited in a polling booth.
At the end of the Election Day, after all the votes had been counted by the polling committee, 17 winners were announced. The youth village director Yossi Krotheimer said that the elected students would care for the animal corner and the stables for a year, as long as they performed their duties in full. Should this not be the case they will be replaced by the nominee with the next highest number of votes. The director wished the elected students luck in their role and consoled those who did not pass the quota.
The students who were not elected were very disappointed but, as part of the educational democratic process, we encourage and teach them that participating in the process is no less important than being elected.
The happy winners took up their new roles on the very next day. During the year they will enjoy special animal corner evenings designed just for them, and they will go on an end of year hike including sleeping out.
Written by: Gabi Azulai, animal corner coordinator
Photos: Lior, boarding school principal