At the Central Council Meeting of the Pioneer Association in September 2012 we discussed the following motion, which had first been raised at an earlier meeting in March 2012 – that the age to become a full Pioneer be changed from the age of sixteen to the age of eighteen, and that Article 15.1 of the Constitution of the PTAA be amended accordingly.
In the past, many people left school at fourteen. At that time, many were already at work for a number of years in fulltime employment by the age of sixteen and considered as adults. Based on that situation, the Association then considered sixteen as the age of full membership. It should be borne in mind that the ‘Young Pioneer’ category of membership where people are now asked to stay away from alcohol until eighteen, was not available when the age of sixteen for adult full membership was fixed.
Today, eighteen would be considered the more appropriate age of full adult membership. Recent concerns about child safeguarding procedures and implementation have a significant bearing on the matter. We need greater clarity in this area. The requirements for organising events for adults and underage people are significantly different.
Finally in the eyes of the law of the land a person is still a minor at age sixteen and does not attain what is called ‘majority’ until the age of eighteen (otherwise a full adult entitled to vote). Therefore, this change will bring that article of the constitution in to line with current practice and law. The motion proposing that the increasing of age for full membership was passed. This change for applicants seeking full membership, i.e., persons of eighteen years of age and over, comes into immediate effect.