Recently student leaders from Meridian and Nampa high schools recently gathered for the first ever Treasure Valley Youth Summit to discuss and seek solutions to difficult issues facing today’s youth. Through a series of guest speakers, presentations, and hands on activities, teens who attended the event at Wahooz Family Fun Zone explored the timely issues of distracted driving, bullying, and substance abuse prevention.
The event, planned and implemented by the Meridian Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC), was the culmination of the group’s year-long efforts to help the City establish and pursue an agenda for youth and to participate in events and initiatives designed to enhance the youth experience in our community.
This year’s MYAC was one of the largest and most dedicated groups ever; engaging approximately 60 members representing eight area high schools.
Last week, the group’s outgoing and newly elected chair’s stood before the Meridian City Council and presented a summary of MYAC’s achievements from the past nine-month school year. It has been an incredible year of involvement and accomplishments!
Among the MYAC’s most ambitious and successful projects was the follow-up work they did to advocate for a state-wide texting ban. They took their concerns and voices all the way to the statehouse, addressing legislative committees and raising awareness of the dangers of texting while driving and were successful in helping to persuade action by the Idaho State Legislature and Governor.
In keeping with their interest in government affairs, MYAC also held a legislative breakfast for Meridian-area legislators and hosted mayoral/city council and legislative candidate forums in an effort to help citizens make informed choices at the polls.
This group’s energy was boundless outside the governmental realm as well. Whether performing yard maintenance and landscaping tasks as part of Rake Up Meridian or educating residents about the importance and ease of recycling by handing our reusable shopping bags outside local grocery stores, they planned and implemented their projects with enthusiasm and confidence.
MYAC delighted the audience at its second annual Ignite Meridian speaking and idea competition, and entertained other local youth through monthly activities planned by its Teen Activities Committee. These diverse and creative activities included an ice skating party, a Halloween haunted house, and an evening of fun at Wahooz.
I am incredibly proud of the members of my Youth Advisory and appreciate the time and energy they put into their endeavors this year. Their tenacity, curiosity, enthusiasm, and willingness to work together to address important issues and contribute to their community set a sterling example we’d all be wise to follow as we continue to work collaboratively on making our community the best it can possibly be.