Hyrum City Youth Council sworn in
By Lara Gale
Stephanie Fricke, city recorder, swore Tonya Anderson, Aubrey Jensen, Brad Clawson, Tiffany Holley, Candiss Smith, Amber Anderson, Shawn Clawson and Bryan Jellum into office after council member Dixie Clawson congratulated them for volunteering to serve their community.
The Hyrum City Youth Council holds the distinction of being the first of its kind in Utah, and possibly in the country, said Clawson. Former Mayor Reese Nielsen created the council over 23 years ago during his term in office because he was concerned about the decreasing attendance rates at city election meetings, said his wife, former council member and youth council advisor Bonnie Nielsen.
"He thought that if people had an interest in city government in their youth, they might become more involved as they got older," she said.
The City Youth Council's primary purpose is to "provide an opportunity for the youth of [Hyrum] to acquire greater knowledge of and appreciation for the American political system through active participation in that system," according to the council charter.
The council has changed over time and doesn't concentrate as much on legislation now as it did in the past, Nielsen said, but the young people who run it are consistently professional and it continues to be a beneficial program.
Next month the council members will attend the Youth Council Leadership Institute, held annually at Utah State University where they and other youth council members from across the state will be able to polish up on leadership skills and learn more about what it means to be a leader, said Miller.
For their two-year term, youth council members will be responsible for organizing fund- raisers and community events, such as the annual Easter egg hunt, and the Star Spangled Week Celebration. The council is very service-oriented, said Clawson.
According to Stephanie Miller, youth council advisor for the past seven years, youth council members accumulate an average of 200 service hours during their time in office.
"These kids take on such a responsibility," Miller said. "It's just fascinating how they can take the responsibility and go with it."
Tonya Anderson, previously the historian, was elected youth mayor for her second term on the council. She will be balancing sports, school, and work at Sunshine Terrace as a certified nurses' aid with her responsibilities as youth mayor, but said it has been a lot of fun and worth every minute to serve on the council.
The council members are all high-achieving youths, according to Dixie
Clawson. All attend either Mountain Crest High School or South Cache
Junior High, and must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average while
serving on the council.