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Forming a youth council has merit

By Staff | Feb 5, 2010

Pierce County and City of Rugby residents held a strategic planning session last month and one of the points of emphasis coming out of the discussion was building future leadership, including ways to get the youth more involved in the community.

And one idea that has real possibilities is forming a youth council in which teens would meet regularly to share ideas and address their needs and concerns. This would provide city and county leaders input that could be put into action.

If we think about it, children and teens make up a good percentage of the local population, but oftentimes their needs get overlooked.

That’s not done intentionally, that’s just reality.

However, that isn’t to say they don’t count, or shouldn’t have a voice. Establishing a council recognized by city and county leaders would be a step toward engaging our youth.

And there is vested interest for adults to do that.

For one thing, our youth represent the future, and hopefully many will remain part of the community for years to come. If we show they are valued residents now, maybe it’s not such a stretch for them to want to live and work in a small town.

Secondly, it introduces youth to be part of a community board or organization. They learn what it takes to run meetings, share and implement ideas and possibly work within a budget. Of course many of these teens are receiving these skills right now in many school organizations or other activities they are involved in. So, it wouldn’ be so difficult to encourage them to come forward and serve.

And third, forming a youth council sends the right message. It says that Rugby and Pierce County value the opinions and needs of its youngest residents and have developed an outlet for them to be shared.

This idea its worthy of more discussion, and of course, it takes the ambition of teens to step up and serve.

However, a youth council has real possibilities.

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