Friday, 17 October 2008

Out of the jungle

Well, I didn't make it to the final day. Eviction from "I'm a Councillor, get me out of here!" came five minutes early yesterday at 2.55pm.

It had been a hectic day in the jungle, with two long chatroom sessions booked by the Education Village and a number of informal sessions where students just logged on themselves to see if anyone was there. At one point there were kids from a number of different schools in town all chatting on line with each other, me, Jenny and the moderators.

I wish you could have seen some of the chatroom conversations: some were just pure fun while occasionally we caught a glimpse of the vulnerability and awkwardness of some of the kids. At the same time, others were so confident, clued up and interested in the world around them.

I'm sure that appearing behind a nom de plume made it easier for some of the kids to express themselves, without fear of personal humiliation or being laughed at.

It's been a real eye-opening experience and I hope the Council get involved again some time, so that other councillors can enjoy it to.

Congratulations to Jenny and Chris. I would have put them first and second at the start of the exercise. But when I heard their plans: for a £6m youth centre near The Forum, a mini-Glastonbury in South Park, Darlington's own version of Tall Trees and an amusement complex at Feethams, I knew the rest of us were sunk!

Good luck to both of you on the last day. I hope you find time to do some of your "proper" work today! And good luck with turning those plans into reality.

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