Star Valley Wants To Develop A Youth Council

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Star Valley wants to recruit future leaders, borrow their ideas and help them develop leadership skills.

Town councilor Paty Henderson suggested Tuesday night developing a youth council similar to the council Payson started in January.

Already, Star Valley has Payson High School student Dillon Walker develop the town Web site. Walker serves as an alternate on Payson’s Youth Council.

“I recognize the value kids have,” said Henderson. “They look at things with a young set of eyes.”

Councilors liked the idea, but did not vote since the idea was slated for discussion only.

Payson charges its youth council with analyzing problems of the local youth, adopting yearly projects to push and organizing meetings with other youth to discuss the town’s issues and suggest improvements.

So far, the youth have raised money for a concert they want have. Youth councilors developed the idea after surveying other high school students about what they wanted to see happen in Payson. The youth also decided they want a water park.

Globally, youth councils have risen as a way to solve local problems and promote youngster-related issues.

For example, in Manitowoc, Wisc., the mayor, who was 22-years-old when elected, developed a youth council to tackle the so-called “brain drain” of youth leaving the area.

In the United Kingdom, two youths from the local council successfully lobbied a bus operator to increase the age for paying adult fares from 14 to 16 years old.

In Star Valley, councilors want to increase the involvement of all residents, including youth.

“I look to the kids of this community to help with the future of Star Valley,” said Henderson. She added that kids will likely step up as the first volunteers, referencing an earlier discussion in which Henderson pushed the town to increase volunteerism for tackling the town’s daily tasks.

Traditionally towns recruit high school students to apply for the youth council, and town officials pick appointments from among the applicants.

Payson’s council has seven regular members, along with alternate members. Officers serve two-year terms or remain on the council until they graduate from high school, whichever occurs first.

Youth councilors pick a chair and vice chair, and the parks and recreation director serves as a staff advisor. The council meets quarterly.

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