City of Norman Youth Council
Deadline extended to April 5th, 2013
What is a Youth Council?
A Youth Council is an advisory body composed of local youth (usually high school aged). They provide advice and counsel to the local governing body and its affiliated advisory and regulatory boards, as well as other community organizations. Additionally, Youth Councils can implement and participate in a variety of youth-identified community initiatives. Youth Councils give youth in the community an opportunity to learn about local government. The cities of Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Broken Arrow and Edmond are some of the cities in Oklahoma that currently have Youth Councils.
Why create a Youth Council?
|2008 Age Distribution|
|Age||Norman %||Oklahoma City MSA %|
|0 – 14||16.6%||20.0%|
|15 - 19||8.7%||7.0%|
According to ESRI Market Profile, 25.3 percent of Norman’s population is under the age of 19. It goes without saying that young people are the future of our communities. Therefore, it is vitally important that they are vested with the knowledge, skills and abilities to be the next generation of local leaders. Youth Councils are an excellent means of doing so because they promote regular and active civic engagement among youth.
Youth Councils promote civic engagement among youth by:
- Giving them a formal role in local decision making
- Offering real-world experiences with elected and advisory bodies
- Teaching them about the role of Councils, boards and commissions
- Providing them with an opportunity to develop leadership skills and learn how local government operates
- Increasing communication between youth and adults
- Increasing youth volunteerism
Recent discussion by City Council regarding the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, regulating smoking in parks, and bicycle path planning are examples of areas that input from a Youth Council could be beneficial.
Who benefits from a Youth Council?
Youth Councils enable young people to:
- Communicate their concerns regarding local matters that affect them
- Evaluate and advise the City Council on issues forwarded to the Youth Council for advice
- Directly participate in local government
- Make decisions and take action to potentially improve their community
- Assist in planning youth/recreation activities
Youth Councils enable local Councils/Commissioners to:
- Be more representative of the community as a whole
- Gain insight regarding the community’s “young” and dynamic perspective
- Encourage youth to be more actively engaged in the political process
- Improve services that directly affect young people
Who creates and oversees the Youth Council?
The Children’s Rights Coordinating Commission (CRCC) desires to serve as the sponsor of the Youth Council for the City of Norman with the assistance of the City Manager’s office. Members of the Youth Council will attend the CRCC meetings and will be briefed on upcoming City Council and Board or Commission issues regarding youth. The Youth Council will then forward recommendations regarding the issues to the City Council or the Board or Commission for their consideration.
Who serves on the Youth Council?
CRCC is seeking motivated, energetic high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who are active in their school and community and are interested in local government. The composition of the Youth Council would mirror that of City Council (2 members from each ward and 2 members at large).
Application requirements would include:
- Applicants must live in a Ward of the City of Norman. A Ward Map is available at www.normanok.gov.
- Applicants must be a high school sophomore, junior or senior in the upcoming academic year.
- Applicants must provide a completed application, including two letters of recommendation from adults who are familiar with their service to the community and/or their leadership skills.
- Terms will be for the school year from September to May with a limit of two terms.
Application considerations would include:
- Include at least one representative from both local high schools.
- Include representation from private, charter and home schools.
- Include students from diverse backgrounds.
- Applicants should demonstrate a proven record of leadership, goal-setting, commitment to community service and community values and wants to created positive opportunities for other youth in the community.