Youth board is finding its placeSince the fall of 2009, a handful of Rosemount students, grades eight through 12 have found themselves shuffling through city council papers and discussing park and recreation programs.
By: Kayla Schmidt, Rosemount Town Pages
Since the fall of 2009, a handful of Rosemount students, grades eight through 12 have found themselves shuffling through city council papers and discussing park and recreation programs.
The students are charter members of the Rosemount Youth Commission, a city council-style group that was formed to represent the thoughts and ideas of Rosemount youth. During their first few months in action, the youth commission was mainly focused on learning the proper procedures for participating in city government. Now that the foundation has been laid, the seven students on the commission’s board are beginning to tackle some of the same topics the city council is currently facing.
“Youth commission is made up of a group of youth that were elected by the city council and we assist the council in making decisions regarding youth,” said Brandon Brist, Rosemount Youth Commission chairperson. “Anything the city council wants information from the youth on, we can give our input and provide insight.”
Brist is a Rosemount High School junior who is also an active member of student council, site council, golf and hockey teams. As youth commission chairperson Brist leads his peers in discussing city council topics, overseeing fluidity and learning the flow of bylaws. Brist sees himself as a bridge between the youth commission and the city council.
“I believe that they (city council members) are able to speak to us on any issue that involves youth and I personally believe that we will be a helpful deciding force in any decision that they need,” Brist said.
Currently, the youth commission is focusing on topics such as how to reinstate the D.A.R.E. program recently cut by Independent School District 196, what improvements could be made to city parks and trails and how the former St. Joseph church should be renovated.
Meghan Olson, a freshman member of the Rosemount Youth Commission, who is also involved in choir and the theater program, feels the commission is a great way for students to become involved in the Rosemount community.
“I love being able to be a part of the whole big picture of what Rosemount is, Olson said. “As a citizen you are not part of a lot of what is going on. You see construction or something going on and you don’t know what it is until you ask, so I like having input and seeing how it is run.”
Olson feels passionate about many topics currently being discussed by the youth commission. Olson said the commission has agreed the D.A.R.E. program should not be cut from schools as it is a “vital part” of growing up. Linking the gap between Rosemount youth and senior citizens is another topic Olson shows interest in.
“We hope to bring out new, fun ideas and plans that Rosemount will enjoy,” Olson said. “We just thank them for putting their trust in us and allowing us to bring out new ideas for them.”
With the youth commission still in its introductory stages, the students are not able to spend as much time as they would like communicating with the city council. Instead they scan through city council e-mails, and have speakers present on topics such as D.A.R.E. and the St. Joseph renovations. Brist said that sometime before the summer, the youth commission will gather their ideas, in order for Brist to present them to the city council.
“We are just a group of seven students in Rosemount that really believe the opportunity that was presented to us will be helpful to the city,” Brist said. “We want to let youth know that our opinions really do matter. A lot of youth our age don’t believe that we have a say of what goes on in our city and we want to show that they have an action in that; that taking part in youth government can give you the option to make a change in life and in different aspects of an organization.”