Prineville Mayor Jason Beebe is helping Crook County Foundation members resurrect the 'If I Were a Mayor' contest in Prineville

INTERNET PHOTO - Students invited to participate in the 'If I Were a Mayor' contest.

What would the youth in Prineville do if they were the mayor?

That question should soon get plenty of answers, thanks to a local contest that will present elementary, middle and high school students with that very question.

The contest is presented by the Oregon Mayor's Association and each community is welcome to participate. Elementary students in grades 4-5 will be asked to submit posters for the contest, while middle schoolers will be entering an essay contest. High school students will be asked to complete a digital media presentation demonstrating what they would do as mayor. Those presentations can be created on a variety of platforms.

The contest used to take place regularly in Prineville but has disappeared locally in recent years. Hoping to change that, Brandi Ebner, Crook County Foundation's executive director, reached out to Mayor Jason Beebe for help resurrecting the contest. He was happy to help.

"I thought it was a wonderful idea," he said. "I would like to see young people get involved in their community, and this is a great opportunity for that to happen. Our future for Prineville is currently in the school systems here, and if I can help them in any way with their interests, I will do it."

Beebe has been on the city council since 2010 and remembers past mayor contests and enjoying the process. He liked the comments from the younger kids and seeing the progression of thoughts from the older kids and how they took a more serious approach.

"It shows that the younger generation in Prineville cares and is listening to what goes on around them," he said.

Ebner said that Crook County Foundation has recently been working on building up its leadership committee and that part of that effort has involved working more closely with the local high school students and the high school leadership teacher.

"We have been trying to find opportunities for students and adults alike to expand their leadership skills and get more involved in leadership roles in the community," she said. "We just felt like this contest … was a really good fit to engage out youth in the community. We are looking forward to all of the variety of ideas."

Ebner stressed that even though the contest centers around the Prineville mayor position, youth from all the Crook County communities – including Paulina, Post and Powell Butte – are able to participate.

Once the local contest is complete, around mid-April, the foundation will submit one winner from each category to the state competition. Those submissions are due by May 7. Winners at the state level receive a prize worth $500.

"Our goal (at the local level) is to provide cash prizes this year for each of the three age categories," Ebner said, noting that first place will receive $100, second place $50 and third place $25.

In addition, winners of each age category will potentially be presented at an upcoming Prineville City Council meeting, and they will be recognized on the foundation's website and Facebook page.

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