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City officials across the state are connecting with students to share information about city government operations, the value of city careers, and opportunities to make a difference in local leadership roles. See just a few examples of this work collected below. Submit your youth outreach examples to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included!
Featured: St. Anthony Village’s Students in Government Day
The city of St. Anthony Village has partnered with St. Anthony Village High School to build an experiential Students in Government Day for students. The annual event has become a tradition for both staff and students. One day each semester, government classes from the high school come to city hall to learn about the day-to-day work of the city and to connect with police, fire, and other departments. City staff plan learning activities including a Government 101 game, a land use mapping exercise, and department tours. After lunch, students participate in a mock city council meeting with a mock mayor and council. Staff provide scenarios for students to consider and vote on. The public works department fashioned a trophy that is given to the department that comes up with a winning scenario.
In addition to Students in Government Day, the city appointed two youth to the planning commission and parks commission. Emails are sent to students in 10th grade and their parents to generate applicants for the positions. Once students gain confidence, they provide good ideas and valuable perspective to the commission discussions.
More youth engagement examples
Centerville’s Junior City Council Member
In Centerville, the city council approved a Junior City Council Member Program, which began in January 2022 when a local high school student was appointed to the seat. The junior council member – also a junior in high school (grade 11) – does not have voting power but is expected to read through the materials, prepare for and attend every meeting, and provide thoughts and feedback just like every other council member. They will serve until the beginning of the next school year. While the program provides an important learning opportunity for the student, it also brings a youth voice into council discussions – a demographic that is less likely to participate in city decision-making.
—More information on the Centerville Junior City Council Member Program (North Central TV)
Rochester’s Youth Commission
The Rochester-Olmsted Youth Commission is an intergenerational group of teens and adults whose work is supported through a partnership between the city of Rochester and Olmsted County. Youth Commissioners advocate for youth leadership and civic engagement in our community and have gone on to serve their communities locally and around the world in education, healthcare, business, and government service. Membership is open to any high school student or interested adult who lives in or attends school in Olmsted County.
Saint Paul’s Youth Commission
Established in 2006, the Saint Paul Youth Commission is where young people learn to enhance their civic leadership, work in partnership with elected officials and stakeholders, represent their peers, and advocate for youth in decision-making in Saint Paul. The Youth Commission has twenty-two seats available — one per district and five at large. Each year, the Youth Commission recruits new members to fill any empty seats. To be eligible for the Youth Commission, you must:
- Live in the city of Saint Paul.
- Be in ninth-12th grade while serving on the commission.
- Commit six-10 hours a month to commission activity.
- Be available to meet on Monday evenings.
- Have a desire to make Saint Paul the best city to live and thrive in.