GREENFIELD — City of Greenfield is considering the formation of a Youth Advisory Council, in which local students would have the chance to voice their opinions and provide fresh ideas to city officials on issues affecting young people in the community.
Greenfield City Council discussed the idea at its Oct. 24 meeting. Though the formulation is in the early planning stages, general consensus from council members was to move forward with the concept of a five-member youth council that would meet quarterly to discuss issues and report back to the city council.
“Members of the city council have a long history of involvement with the youth of our community,” said City Manager Jaime Fontes. “The collective feeling is that the time has come to formalize a structure by which the youth of our community could have a say as to the issues that affect them.”
The youth council would be comprised of current students in the Greenfield school systems who would need to apply for one of the positions. Council members suggested there could be one student from each grade level, from eighth to 12th grades, to make up the board. The other option would be to start the program with only high school students, and one member could be the Associated Student Body president along with students from each of the four classes.
Mayor Pro-Tem Avelina Torres recommended having the youth council meet in the City Council Chambers to experience what it is like to sit on the dais. Council member Yanely Martinez agreed, adding that two of the students should sit in regularly at the city council meetings so that they “can get a sense of what we do as council members.”
“The whole idea behind a youth council is that we want our youth to one day sit in our seats, so we’re preparing them, guiding them as future leaders,” Martinez said.
According to Fontes, city staff will continue to pursue the formation of a Youth Advisory Council based on the city council’s direction and will bring the item back for further discussion at a future meeting.