Mount Angel looks to add youth advisory
The city of Mount Angel implemented a student councilor position last year as a go-between for the city and school district, but it looks like the program will expand next year to an entire group of students interested in civics and volunteerism.
This year's student councilor, Abby Frey, a senior at Kennedy High School, got the idea when she attended the Oregon Youth Summit for government youth leaders earlier this year.
Frey said she hopes to recruit about 10 members to the inaugural youth advisory council, which will hopefully be active in the community, whether it's doing peer mentoring, community service or conducting surveys.
"When we need a connection to the high school, our youth council would be that connection because we'd have the city tie and the school tie," Frey said. "So it will hopefully be easier to help our community."
She said she learned a lot of ideas for activities the council could do, one of which she's actually spearheading herself later this month. The Mount Angel prescription take-back event will be held April 28 in the Kennedy High School parking lot. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., anyone can drop off their unused prescription drugs to be properly disposed of by Mount Angel Police Department.
"Some schools had really big problems with kids coming to the school with parents' prescription drugs," Frey said. "I don't think we have a problem with drugs in our high school but this is a way to come out in front of it to help the community keep children safe. It's only going to help people; there's no bad side."
Applications for youth advisory council, available at ci.mt-angel.or.us, are due at the end of the day Friday. Applicants will be asked to appear before the City Council at its May 7 meeting and briefly explain why they're interested and any ideas they'd like to see implemented. One of them will be selected by the council to serve as student councilor for the following school year. That position includes a $500 scholarship.
While she's the one spearheading it, Frey won't actually be around to be part of the youth advisory council, as she's getting ready to graduate high school, though she said she'll make herself available to ensure a smooth transition.
"I've turned (the recruitment of) youth council into my senior project but really, I think it's my duty as student councilor to do all these things that are beneficial to the community," she said. "It's not for brownie points, it just needs to get done."
City Manager Amber Mathiesen is enthusiastic about the opportunity to connect with youths in the community.
"It would be for someone looking at going into local government, but really it's just to get young people involved in their community," she said. "It's really important to councilors to understand what's important to the next generation."