The Valdosta Youth Council (VYC), initiated by Mayor John Gayle in 2015, is seeking applicants for its fourth program year.
The VYC seeks to inspire local 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade students to build leadership and civic responsibility, to gain a better understanding of municipal government, and to prepare youth for a lifetime of public and community service.
In order to participate in the VYC, 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 2018-2019 VYC program year. Once selected, the youth must commit to attend the scheduled monthly meetings and complete a minimum of eight community service hours.
“We want to engage these students in their local government before they reach high school and give them opportunities to grow as leaders in our community,” said Mayor Gayle. “This youth-run council, guided by an Advisory Board of local educators and city staff, has made significant accomplishments since their first year, and I’m confident they will continue to have a true impact in our community.”
The members of the VYC 2017-2018 certainly did make an impact, embracing their mission and achieving a variety of accomplishments, including the following:
• Gained an understanding and appreciation of municipal government by meeting monthly with a variety of City and local leaders including: the Neighborhood Development Manager, the Planning & Zoning Administrator, the Southern Marketing Coordinator for the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture, Officer Carla Jones and her new Therapy Dog “Hope”, the Police Chief, the Stormwater Manager, the Water Treatment Plant Superintendent, the City Marshal and the Public Works Supervisor.
• Participated in the City of Valdosta’s second annual Dumpster Art Project that transformed City trash dumpsters in the downtown area into pieces of public art.
• Participated in the Valdosta Christmas Tree Lighting, the Electronics Recycling event, and other City-sponsored events.
• Traveled to Atlanta to visit the Governor’s Mansion, the State Capitol, and the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture where the youth learned about State government and interacted with State leadership.
• Hosted a Leadership Development Training in January 2018 where VYC members identified leadership traits in themselves, as well as in others.
• Oversaw the 2018 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest.
• Collectively completed more than 100 community service hours.
• Continued a growing presence on the VYC Facebook page for local youth to follow the work of the VYC, to be informed on youth issues, and to discover ways to be engaged in their local government.
• Organized two cleanups of their adopted .6 mile portion of North Lee Street resulting in 15, thirty-gallon bags of trash removed from this City street.
• Produced two VYC Meetings that were shown on Metro 17 with the assistance of Metro 17’s Marcus McConico to discuss issues being addressed each month at VYC meetings and ran 16 VYC stories during the year on City Focus.
•Documented their third year of VYC activities in a hard-bound scrapbook that will be passed on each year to the succeeding council.
VYC 2018-2019 applications may be obtained from school principals and counselors, or a copy may be downloaded from the city’s website at www.valdostacity.com/valdosta-youth-council. The application deadline is Friday, Aug. 24, and the new VYC members will officially be sworn in at the Sept 20, 2018 Valdosta City Council meeting.
For more information, contact City Clerk Teresa Bolden at 229-259-3503, Email – firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Public Information Officer Ashlyn Becton at 229-259-3548 or at email@example.com.