Local youth who want to experience working with the local government and have an impact on their peers and other community members are encouraged to apply for a seat on the Valdosta Youth Council. Now in its third year, the VYC continues to inspire local 7th-9th grade students to build leadership and civic responsibility, to gain a better understanding of municipal government, and to prepare for a lifetime of public and community service. The incoming VYC members will officially be sworn in at the Sept. 21, 2017 Valdosta City Council meeting.
“We want to engage these students in their local government during their middle school and early high school years and give them opportunities to grow as leaders in our community,” said Mayor John Gayle. “This is a youth-run council, guided by an Advisory Board of local educators and city staff. These students operate much like the Valdosta City Council, setting their own initiatives and making a positive impact in our community.”
In order to participate, students must be enrolled in a public or private middle school located within the Valdosta city limits and must have a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Educators in these schools will nominate students for the 2017-2018 inaugural program. Once selected, the youth must commit to attend the scheduled monthly meetings, complete a minimum of eight community service hours, and must attain transportation to and from meetings and events.
“You’re never going to learn anything by doing nothing,” said 2016-2017 VYC President Drew Correll, then a freshman at Valdosta High School. “You should always try to be involved in your community so you can learn about the things that government does for us every day. I encourage all 7th, 8th or 9th graders attending schools in the city to consider being a part of the Valdosta Youth Council and to find your service role in our community.”
Under Drew’s leadership, the VYC embraced their mission and achieved a variety of accomplishments, including: establishing an anti-bullying campaign and Valdosta Youth Explosion event, coordinating the 2017 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest, maintaining their Adopt-a-Street commitment, completing more than 112 community service hours collectively, visiting their state government leaders in Atlanta, and continuing their growing presence on the VYC Facebook page for local youth to be informed on youth issues, among a list of other accomplishments.
VYC 2017-2018 applications may be obtained from school principals and counselors, or a copy may be downloaded from the city’s website or at http://www.valdostacity.com/valdosta-youth-council.
The deadline to submit applications is Thursday, Aug. 31. For more information, contact City Clerk Teresa Bolden at 229-259-3503, Email – firstname.lastname@example.org or Public Information Officer Sementha Mathews at 229-259-3548, Email – email@example.com.