Payson Extends Terms Of Youth Council

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Hoping to keep local students actively involved in town business, the Payson Town Council last week loosened the requirements and terms for the Payson Advisory Youth Council.

The youth council has been operating for the past year, charged with interjecting a youthful point of view into town politics.

The town originally set up a seven-member board of high school students, with four alternates and an “ex officio” member to serve as an adult adviser.

The group has met repeatedly in the past year and spent most of its time staging fund-raisers and surveying students on changes they’d like to see in Payson. Those surveys have so far reflected the perennial teen complaint that there’s just nothing to do in Payson, with a call for more dances, teen hangouts and a water park.

The teen board members have so far spent a lot of time and effort mastering the hard lessons in how hard it is to raise money during a recession — and how hard it is to get kids involved.

More recently, the group got involved in fund-raising for the community food drive. They plan several events in the next year and hope to regularly survey student opinion.

Now nearing graduation and the ends of some of their staggered terms, the members of the youth council asked the town to overhaul the rules so they can remain involved and continue to recruit new members.

The town council approved the changes last week.

One change would lengthen the terms of the youth council board members from two years to three and start the terms in July instead of January.

A second change would allow college students to serve up to the age of 23. It would also allow students living outside the town limits but attending Payson schools to serve as well, including private and charter schools.

The council will continue to appoint members to the board, but shifted the power to monitor the group’s activities from the parks and recreation director to a designated town staff member.

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