SUNSHINE Coast Council may be injected with a dose of young blood with five candidates under 24 contesting today's election.
If Division 1 candidate Rhys Reynolds, 21; Division 4's Cassie Champion, 20; Theresa Blumel, 23, in Division 8; 20-year-old Division 9 candidate Taylor Bunnag and 23-year-old Esther Johnson running in Division 10 are successful, they will join Division 6 councillor Christian Dickson, who was a fresh-faced 19-year-old when elected into the former Maroochy Shire Council in 2006.
Cr Dickson, who is running unopposed today, has become a role model for aspiring young politicians having to overcome the odds.
"There was no doubt in my mind that my age at the time would impede on my chances of being elected.
''You have to be honest with yourself first, and I believe in doing so I was able to prepare myself for the high level of public scrutiny which was cast upon me during the election process," he said.
"The most difficult aspect of the job that I faced back then was learning how to balance residents expectations with what was realistically achievable within the electorate."
Mr Reynolds, Miss Champion and Miss Johnson may be young enough to be the children of some of their adversaries, but are confident they have what it takes to follow in Cr Dickson's footsteps.
"We are willing to learn and listen to others. Not having baggage from previous jobs helps us learn and implement new and creative ideas," Mr Reynolds said.
Mr Reynolds admitted he did have reservations about running at a young age but he was prepared to learn and grow on the job, and said it was important for young people to take interest in the future of the Sunshine Coast.
"We are the future for the Sunshine Coast. If the younger generations don't take an active interest they won't have their ideas shaped and implemented for them in the future," he said.
Miss Champion has grown up around local government and said she wanted to pursue a career as a councillor for years. "I knew the community was looking for fresh energy and this was something I had plenty of," she said.
"Apart from fresh energy, I am fortunate to have had a lifelong exposure to local government and know the long hours and commitment required to be a good listener, a hard worker and deliver effective communication. I've had a great mentor and supporter.
"The community is ready for someone to get back to basics and get on with delivering a better service and better communication."
Miss Champion said there was a lack of community engagement from people of all ages and encouraged the youth of the Coast to become more involved.
"Decisions that affect us now also have an impact on the future generations, particularly regarding sustainable development and the rehabilitation of our environment.
''Our lifestyle is the envy of many and being part of the council that guides our decision making will determine the quality of and how that lifestyle is protected for the future generations," she said.
Miss Champion said one of the issues high on her agenda was communication and social media was a useful tool in uniting the council and community.
"There are some 60,000 residents who use social media within the local community and they have a lot to say," she said.
Miss Johnson decided to run for council about two years ago and believed her young age was an advantage. "I am not set in my ways and I can quickly learn the background information that is required to make decisions for all the people I want to represent," she said.
"I have no reservations running at this point in time.
''I also understand though that a lot of older people think that I will not be able to cope with the pressures of politics. That is not true and I don't think it is your calendar age that makes that happen. Young people can do anything they set their mind to, just like other people.
"I represent the silent ones. Those who have to leave because there are not enough jobs or training opportunities.
''Because this is a family friendly destination decisions are made to choke activities that young people want to experience and instead have to go to Brisbane for example.
''I think people my age feel disenfranchised by the political system, the media and often by community organisations who seem to only want to represent the older citizens of this region."
Cr Dickson said the most valuable advice he could give was to always remain humble and be respectful.
He said it was refreshing to see so many young people wanting to make a change.
"I personally believe that it is extremely important for young people to take an interest in politics."
Miss Blumel failed to respond to the Daily and Mr Bunnag declined to be involved.