YAC gives kids chance to make difference

With all the recent interest in revitalizing Sweet Home’s business district through the Sweet Home Active Revitalization Effort, folks with an inclination toward volunteering and taking action have come out of the woodwork.

Of course, in Sweet Home there have always been people who made things happen. Every community has movers and shakers, in good times and bad, and so it has been here.

What is different is the number of people who have stepped up to the plate to make something happen in our downtown. We’ve been talking about them for months in these pages and will continue to do so, but what I’m about to say isn’t really about SHARE folks.

Rather, it’s about kids.

If you read the end of the front-page story (about how the City Council is going to start amending some local laws to make them more understandable and less in conflict with other laws) you will find a small note on page 9 about something entirely different – the Youth Advisory Council.

Every year we report on the state of the council, as we did a few weeks ago, usually focusing on the fact that the YAC needs participants.

The purpose of the council is to give kids a voice in city affairs. YAC members have weighed in on topics such as the proposal to build a city skate park and the proposal to close the high school campus during lunch. Members are encouraged to attend other city committee meetings, to find out what those committees and groups are talking about and, if appropriate, to provide a youth voice in those discussions.

Last year council members organized a cleanup day at Weddle Bridge and a dance afterwards.

So far this year, about half the positions on the council are filled. According to our story, five still remain open to young people between ages 12 and 19.

One of the comments I sometimes hear from people is that many of the same names and faces often appear in The New Era. It’s true but not because we have favorites. Rather, there are people in town who are doers. They show up, they get involved, they make things happen, and when we report on those things, well, guess whose names and faces appear on our pages?

SHARE has brought people, who otherwise may not be that involved in the public arena, out into the open. They want change and they’re willing to devote time and energy to make it happen.

The YAC is an opportunity for local young people to put their text messages, their I-Pod, their computer mouse, their Wii games aside and help make things happen. Got something to say about how kids feel in Sweet Home? This is your chance to speak up. Got a bright idea about how you could make Sweet Home better? Make it happen.

This is a chance to help concoct the future and it’s not limited to youths who already are involved in student government, the social scene, sports, etc. It’s open to any youngster who wants to make a difference.

To find out more, call the number at the end of our story. If you’re interested in making Sweet Home a better place, take this chance to have your say.