Payson Youth Want Something To Do

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Someplace to hang out.

Maybe a nice water park.

Oh well, sigh. How about a dance?

The Payson Youth Advisory Council has spent the last eight months brainstorming, raising money and polling the youth of Payson.

Turns out — kids want something to do.

“ People said they wanted a concert — so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Council Chair Anthony Smith.

So the Youth Council will raise money to sponsor a concert on Oct. 2 in Green Valley Park by The Elements, in hopes of getting young people more involved in the community.

Of course — the number two priority will take a little more work: A water park.

“The water park was the second most mentioned idea — but I guess that’s a little out of reach right now. And a youth center — that was a big thing. I don’t think the water park is going to happen,” he said sadly.

As it happens, Payson voters decisively nixed a youth center with modest water park elements nearly two years ago when they turned down the Valley of the Sun YMCA’s plan to turn Taylor Pool into a year-round swim facility and youth center, complete with competitive swimming and a play area.

Still, the cheerful members of the newly formed Youth Advisory Council enlivened a recent Town Council meeting, gusting into the staid council chambers like an overdue monsoon.

Members of the youth council have been meeting regularly, planning events, raising money, surveying peers and trying to figure out how to get young people connected to town government — and maybe also get the town council to do some things to serve the needs of kids.

Members include Daniel Conley, Austin Shannon, Lauren Best, Alicia Bayless, Sam Grassel and Payton Pettet.

The council members beamed — especially because the well-spoken, boundlessly enthusiastic kids constituted about half the audience for the whole meeting.

“This will put you head and shoulders above a lot of people,” said Councilor Michael Hughes of the youth council’s willingness to get involved.

Youth Council members have already staged several fund-raisers, including a July 4 event and a Rock Band game during the 2010 Relay for Life.

They also sent several representatives to a League of Cities and Towns convention, where they learned that cities have established 18 youth councils statewide.

Smith said he was wowed by the “march of flags” at the onset of that convention, with one flag for each of the towns in the state.

“I didn’t know we had that many towns in Arizona,” he said.

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