People as young as 14 are being offered the chance to take an active part in community councils for the first time after councillors gave the green light to new rules.
An overhaul of the way the networks of local bodies operates throughout Aberdeenshire was approved by councillors last week.
It allows council officers to suspend groups if numbers fall too low.
But the new rules also mean 16 year-olds can be elected onto community councils and enthusiastic young people, aged 14 and 15, can also get involved as junior members.
However, they could not become office bearers until they turn 16.
Director of business services, Ritchie Johnstone said it would give “flexibility” and would be “clearer”.
The authority has 71 community council areas with six currently awaiting re-establishment.
Aberchirder and Marnoch, Sandhaven and Pitullie, Peterhead, Kinellar, St Cyrus and Mid-Deeside are all without groups.
The new scheme was passed by Aberdeenshire councillors yesterday and will be formally adopted at the beginning of April 2018.
Stonehaven community council chairman, Phil Mills-Bishop, has been pivotal in attracting youngsters to his ranks and has been working closely with Mackie Academy pupils.
He said: “There are some challenges such as providing the right agenda items to keep their interest. We could potentially take on seven young members, which I think is very exciting. We need some new blood and enthusiasm.”
Head of Mackie Academy, Louise Moir, indicated the time spent volunteering on a community council could go towards a number of qualifications.
She added: “We are looking at getting some accreditation for our Scottish Studies course, in that this could be a local element of work.
“We also could use it for our Duke of Edinburgh award, the Saltire award or the SQA for volunteering or leadership. “
Kirsty Ferguson, 16, is in S5 at Mackie Academy and is keen to get more involved with her community.
She said: “I feel I have got something to contribute to the community council and I could represent young people in Stonehaven.”