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Carbon lawmakers approve formation of youth commission

Sun Advocate reporter

Carbon lawmakers approved the formation a youth commission composed of 15 local high school students at county government's April 7 meeting.

The county will accept nominations for students to occupy seats on the youth panel through April 15.

For several months, Castle Country's Promise has been working with the Carbon County commissioners to implement a youth commission that would allow area students to get more involved with governmental processes.

The local group is a chapter of the national youth alliance, America's Promise

The commissioners granted the group's request on the condition that parents maintain liability while students are participating in the program.

According to Castle Valley Promise chairman Greg Cowan, forming the youth commission will ensure that teens' needs and opinions are valued and considered in the local government's plans and decisions.

The youth commission will also give students and elected officials a direct means of communication, unite the efforts of existing youth programs in the community, educate youth on public input along with due process and allow students to intern with county agencies in a working environment to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in local, state and federal government, said Cowan.

Carbon Commissioner Mike Milovich said the youth commission should be a good learning experience for the participants. But the commissioners indicated the program's success will depend on the willingness of parents to give consent and students to dedicate time.

"It's a big committment. Sitting through long meetings is a lot to ask of a person," commented. "[Its success] is just going to depend on how much involvement they want to have."

The Promise organization promotes the concept that the more support young people receive from their community, the more likely they are to be successful.

As a result, five promises are set out by the group. It is asserted that is these five promises are consistantly fulfilled, the health and well-being of the next generation will be significantly advanced and the chances of youth becoming successful adults will be increased.

The five objectives of Castle Country's Promise include providing youth with:

•Caring adults.

Ongoing relationships with caring adults - parents, mentors, tutors or coaches - offer youth support, care and guidance.

•Safe places.

Safe places with structured activities during non-school hours provide both physical and emotional safety for youth.

•A healthy start.

Adequate nutrition, exercise and health care pave the way for healthy bodies, healthy minds, and smart habits for adulthood.

•Marketable skills.

Marketable skills developed through effective education help youth navigate the transition from school to work successfully.

•Opportunities to serve.

Opportunities to give back through community service enhance self-esteem, boost confidence and heighten a sense of responsibility to the community.

Castle Country's Promise will accept nominations through April 15. To nominate a local youth, residents may contact Anne Mackiewicz at 613-5619 or call Kathy Murray.

Nominees should preferably be high school juniors or seniors.

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