City Council Corner
YCC: A great opportunity for Cottonwood Heights' youth
By Councilman Scott Bracken
If you’ve looked around at city events you’ve probably noticed a group of teenagers hanging around. Invariably they are working, doing one of the many jobs such activities require. If it looks like they’re having fun as they work, I’m willing to bet that they are. But who are they? Why are they helping at our events?
They are members of the Cottonwood Heights Youth City Council (YCC). Sponsored by the city, YCC provides the youth of our community with an opportunity to become involved in local government. Regular meetings are held twice a month on the first and third Thursdays. As representatives of the city, they are expected to be individuals of character and integrity.
The purpose of the YCC is threefold: service, education, and social activities. As mentioned above, YCC members are at every city event, almost without fail. You can expect to see them ushering at the annual play, planning, executing and running the teen area during Butlerville Days, stuffing and putting out eggs for the annual Easter Egg Hunt, and more. Not only does this service benefit the city and the community, it helps YCC members learn how important service is to any community in which they participate.
The second aspect of YCC is education. Many city residents, and especially youth, don’t know the answers to basic questions such as, what is public works? Who do you call if the neighbor’s dog barks all night long? What does a police detective really do? These and many other questions are answered through YCC education meetings. These are meetings with local officials and city staff members who teach about the functions and services a city provides.
Beyond education meetings, YCC members organize and govern themselves through election to YCC executive positions such as mayor and committee officers. Other leadership positions are appointed. Many city council meetings have YCC members in attendance, speaking directly with the council and even sitting with elected officials on the dais during business meetings.
In fact, one of the YCC members is a non-voting representative on the city’s planning commission, where land-use issues are discussed and decided. After each meeting, that representative reports on the meeting to the rest of the youth group. The goal is for our youth to become educated and active adults who understand and are involved in local government.
The third aspect of YCC is social activities. From laser tag to Singles Awareness Day, swimming parties to dinner with the mayor and city council, they have a great time together. There are two activities that combine the educational and social purposes of YCC: Day with the Legislature, where we meet with state level officials (this year it included the governor and attorney general!), and the USU Leadership Conference, where we spend three days attending workshops and playing games, followed by best teen dance ever held anywhere.
Applications to be a part of YCC during the 2014-15 school year will be available online starting March 20. Any high school-aged youth that lives in or goes to school in Cottonwood Heights and is interested in joining can download an application from the city website at cottonwoodheights.utah.gov/ycc or pick up an application from the city offices. Applications are due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11. First-time applicants will need to provide a letter of recommendation and participate in a short interview.
YCC provides youth with a chance to serve the community, develop leadership skills, interact with elected officials, and participate in valuable educational experiences. Besides being fun, being a member looks good on resumes and scholarship applications. It’s a great opportunity that shouldn’t be missed!