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The City Journals

Youth council takes oath of office

Dec 06, 2016 02:31PM ● By Tori LaRue

Herriman Youth Council members take the oath of office at the Herriman City Council Chambers on Nov. 9. (Destiny Skinner/Herriman City)

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Youth Mayor Rachel Hale and the other Herriman Youth Council members are getting ready for a year of learning, service and community involvement. 

“It’s a way for us to widen our perspective on local government and get involved with city events,” Rachel said. 

The members took the oath of office at the Nov. 9 meeting, pledging to obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Herriman City. Each member was congratulated by the Herriman City Council, and Herriman Councilwoman Coralee Moser, the Youth Council Liaison, presented several of them with service awards from participation last year. 

“We are very grateful for their service to the city,” Mayor Carmen Freeman said about the youth council. “We have always felt that this is a great experience for our youth to increase their relationships but also to really see the dynamics of the city. Hopefully that will instill a great desire in the future for their getting involved and taking our places one day.” 

Thirteen members are returning to the Youth Council this year, and seven joined their group. The Herriman City Council interviewed each new member of the youth council, and the returning members submitted a letter of intent to remain on the council. 

The youth council’s main responsibilities are to participate in city council and citizen comments projects, spend a day at the Utah State Legislature, aid in the planning of city events and conduct service projects. They also  work directly with elected Herriman officials and administrators. 

One of the service projects Hale said she’s looking forward to is their food drive series. First, they will be collecting food at the Herriman Holiday Sing Along held at Silver Crest Elementary School on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. While youth council members are figuring out the details, councilmember Sellianda Rome, 16, said their next drive for the Utah Food Bank will be a unique approach to food collecting. 

“We’re doing a dance,” Sellianda said. “Our friends or whoever wants to come to the dance will have to bring a food donation as their entry fee.” 

Abbie Chapman, last year’s youth mayor, came up with the idea, and the rest of the council decided to pursue it. The food drive dance for youth will be held at the J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center on Jan. 20. 

In addition to Sellianda, Abbie and Rachel, the following youth are also planning the dance and comprise the Herriman Youth Council: Aaron Burningham, Abby Kynaston, Danielle Fisher, Emily Tanner, Gabi Sudweeks, Jaden Bennett, Kala Hyte, Liam Hyte, Maddy Morgan, Nicholas Chevalier, Nicholas Chapman, Quaid Green, Ruth Barnum, Tanner Vasica, Tate Williams, Teighan Davis and Tyler Davis.

Emily, who is beginning her second year on the youth council, said the group is taking precautions to make sure each member feels involved in the food drive and other events. Creating a bond within the group is the key to make everyone feel included, she said. 

The youth council started incorporating ice-breaker games during each monthly meeting to help them get to know each other which will hopefully help each member come out of their shell and be willing to share their ideas with the group, Emily said. 

Emily originally signed up for the youth council only because it would look good on college applications but stuck around for another year after realizing she was having fun while giving service and learning, she said. 

“I’d never really thought about government before, besides looking at just the mayor and the big positions,” she said. “I realized there are a lot of different positions that go into helping a city work. I had no idea there would be a person at a city who just took care of social media, and that helped me to be a little more interested in government for when I’m older.” 

Abbie said she realized something similar. Because she’s always wanted to be an accountant, Abbie said she thought there wasn’t any place for her in government. 

“Then I realized there’s a city accountant, and the city has a finance department,” she said. “Sure, it’s kind of different than your typical CPA job, but it could be interesting.” 

Coralee said she’s inspired by the youth council’s leadership and is excited to see what goals they set this year.