Mayor’s Youth Council Supports City Through Service
Aug 22, 2016 01:02PM ● Published by Kelly Cannon
The Draper City Mayor’s Youth Council consists of teen residents dedicated to helping the community. —Caroline Sagae
Gallery: Draper Mayor's Youth Council [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
A bunch of teenagers are making a difference in their community through the Draper City Mayor's Youth Council. The group, which boasts over 50 members, helps the city by volunteering at various city-sponsored events, as well as doing their own service projects.
“We do Haunted Hollow, which is a city event. We also do the Christmas tree lights in Draper Park. We do a lot of food bank activities,” 16-year-old Amber Rasmussen said. “We do Capitol on the Hill where we take a day off of school and we go to the capital and we have all of these meetings and lectures on how to be better leaders and things like that. And there’s the Easter egg hunt. So it’s city things but also wider.”
Amber joined the youth council after three of her older siblings had spent their teenage years in the organization.
“I heard a lot of good thing about it from my siblings but then also, what other way can you get involved in your community?” Amber said. “I knew most youth don’t know the things going on in their cities and I think this is great way to find out more about it.”
Kaitlyn Wampler, 17, joined the organization after learning about it in the newspaper.
“There are service aspects to it and I had already been involved in service at my school. I was like, ‘I’m already involved. Why not just add more to it?’” Kaitlyn said. “I decided this would be a great way to meet new people besides people at my school and I also get to serve the community.”
Kaitlyn is currently serving as the mayor pro-tem in the group while 17-year-old TK Polevoy is mayor.
TK described the purpose of the youth council as getting youth together to form a group to do service for the community, learn about the role of government and to have fun.
“One thing I’m focusing on this year is making sure our youth know how to talk to their legislators and the city council and people who work here to get their voice out,” he said.
Learning more about how to be a leader is a major part of the youth council. Every year, the group travels up to Utah State University for a leadership conference.
“We drove up to Utah State and we were out of school for this and we had more lectures on how to be better leaders,” Amber said. “We spent two nights there because it was really fun but I also learned a lot. You can have fun on the youth council but you can also learn how to better the youth council.”
The youth council also have a chance to interact with state legislators during the legislative session when the council is invited up to the capitol.
“You listen to speakers on how to become a better leader,” TK said.
Draper residents may recognize the youth council volunteering at the city run events. Kaitlyn said she enjoys helping out at these events.
“I personally have fun at the Haunted Hollow because it’s fun to see kids dressed up in their costumes and then you get to help with the activities they’re doing. I’ve helped with the different games we’ve put on and it’s just fun to see all the kids and how excited they are,” Kaitlyn said. “The Easter egg hunt is also fun. It’s a little bit more of letting the kids do it and you just kind of watch. That’s why I like the Haunted Hollow because it’s more of an interaction with the kids.”
Being on the council isn’t without its challenges. Kaitlyn said being an active member of the youth council is a time commitment.
“It’s not a huge time commitment but you do have to be like, ‘This thing is happening.’ You have to let people know you are going to be there and plan around it,” Amber said. “You have to make sure you know when things are planned and what’s going on throughout the year; that way you can plan stuff around that.”
However, all three teens have enjoyed their time on the council and find it to be a rewarding experience.
“I think you get out of it what you put into it. If you come with a positive attitude, it can be more than just what looks good on a college application,” Amber said. “It’s a great experience. It really has been.”