Park City Youth Council Invited to Council Retreat
On the third floor of the Park City Library, overlooking Old Town, several tables were shaped into a large square with huge monitors and easel pads on each side with charts, lists and diagrams displayed.
Sitting at the tables were Mayor Jack Thomas, the council members and Park City’s Youth Council.
Youth Council is a new club for Park City High School and while they have a few months under their belt, they’re still figuring out how they want the club to operate and what their first project will be.
Park City council want to help the students in any way they can and invited them to their retreat.
The students brought several ideas that included everything from a butterfly garden to a teen center. In spite of council member Tim Henney’s sales pitch in favor of the butterfly garden, the teen center won out.
“This is visioning so it’s very conceptual," said former city planner Meg Ryan. "So I think, the idea that we came out with, and we’re going to meet and vet it and come back to them, was sort of teen activities and transportation – how do you crack that nut?”
Ryan now works for the Utah League of City and Towns and is helping the students on her own time.
Being the mother of a 15-year-old, Ryan understands firsthand that Park City doesn’t have a place for teens to hang out.
“It seems to me is when you’re between six and twelve, there’s incredible activities," Ryan said. "But then when you get between 13 and 18 – you know, where do you go? You don’t go to the bars and Starbucks, you know, and the junction, kids roaming out there so where do you go? I don’t know. I think that’s what they’re going to answer.”
Though it’s been a team effort, Ryan said it was an idea that she and council member Andy Beerman came up with.
“I went to the school and they decided the best vehicle was a club but it’s funded by the city council," Ryan said. " What’s funded is a participation at the local officials day at the capital which they did just last week and then if they have little projects and then they have t-shirts. So, this is our first year and we’re learning as we go.”
Council member Becca Gerber has been working directly with the teens, bridging the gap between council and the club.
After meeting with the youth council Thomas said the future is in good hands.
“If anybody in our community has any doubt about the potential or hope of our nation they need to see and hear the participation of the youth city council, because they’re incredible," Thomas said. "And when you listen to them and see their engagement and see how articulate are and knowledgeable and disciplined they are, you start to relax and say, ‘The future of this country is in good hands.’ I was very pleased and impressed.”
Thomas and the council members have invited the youth council to attend the council meetings. The next one – Thursday, February 16.