It was started as a way to engage youth in the community as part of the policy-making that happens at City Hall. The Weyburn Youth Council, which is made up of students from Weyburn Comprehensive School, is looking for members for the upcoming year.
“The Weyburn Youth Council meets monthly during the school year – they don’t meet in the summer – and then one of the youth councillors, generally the youth mayor, attends the city council meetings,” explained Jeff Richards. He is a Weyburn City Councillor and is very passionate about getting the youth in Weyburn engaged through the program.
While the member of the youth council who attends the City Council meetings doesn’t have a vote, they are able to bring their voice to some of the debates that happen in the council chambers and have even helped to initiate different things.
“The very first time that the crosswalks were painted at the corner of 3rd (Street) and Coteau (Avenue), that was an initiative that came first to the youth council, and then the youth council made a recommendation to the city council to allow that, which city council, of course, said yes,” shared Richards about one of the initiatives that came from the Youth Council. He also noted the Youth Council has been very passionate about the Weyburn Theatre project, to the point that one member of last year’s youth council is now on the board for the new Weyburn theatre co-operative.
In addition to taking part in the process at City Hall, there are a number of personal benefits for the students who take part in the Youth Council, Richards noted. He explained those who take part in it learn about civic government, as well as governance.
“Although this is not a board of directors, basic governance is the same, so individuals that have gone through youth council, now onto their adult lives, have been able to take those experiences forward,” Richards stated. It was also pointed out that for those who are part of the youth council, it does look good on the applications when applying to various post-secondary institutions, as well as various scholarships.
“It’s not an honorary position,” Richards clarified. “It’s work. Being on the youth council requires work on the youth’s part. Not a lot of hours, but some.”
Positions on the Youth Council are open to those in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Applications for the position are available on the City of Weyburn website. The applications are reviewed, and then five members of the youth council are selected to serve for the school year.
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