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Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - - 11:30 a.m.

Youth Commission (schools represented):
South, Twining, Valley, Central, Community, Red River

Welcome and Introductions.

Pete Haga welcomed the commissioners and thanked them for their participation. He distributed a sample of You Commission letterhead and stated that it is available for the use of the Commissioners in communications that they would like to do on behalf of the commission.

CORE Leadership Update.

Mary Lien gave a brief review of the CORE leadership structure which the group had selected at the last meeting. Nominations for a CORE Leadership role on the commission were: Melissa M., Stephanie M., Andrew J., Taylur M., Ben P., and Ian K. Each nominee gave a brief statement as to why they would like to serve on the CORE and their qualifications followed by a vote.

Melissa M., Stephanie M., and Tylur M. will serve as the CORE for this year.

Community Involvement Issues.
a) New American Program – Filling Totes.

Mary Lien stated that Heather Helgerson was unable to attend today, but will ask her to come for the January meeting if there is interest from the Commission.

Lien explained that there are a number of new Americans that relocate to Grand Forks and often come with very few or no possessions to establish a home. The intent of this program is to “fill a tote” that would set up a room such as the kitchen or bathroom, etc. with everything that family would need to get started. The intent is not for the commissioners themselves to fill the tote, but to run a drive at their school for items that would fill the need. Lists of what items are needed are available and can be distributed to Commissioners to bring back to their YORS group for discussion as to whether any schools would be interested in working with this program.

More discussion on this item will be on the agenda for next month.

Haga stated that in general one of the purposes of the Youth Commission is to increase youth involvement in the community and motivate and involve peers to create the most impact in the community.

b) Transportation
Haga stated that this item came from the Mayor’s Cabinet for discussion at the Commission meeting. He continued that there is a concern that there maybe youth that are not able to participate in existing program opportunities in the community because they don’t have a way to get there or home. There was also a thought that perhaps students might benefit if funding could be obtained to provide a membership at the YMCA for youth to use the facility during afterschool hour.

Comments from commissioners were:

There are already new state of the art workout facilities at Red River and Central that youth could utilize. Red River’s is not used very much and should be more emphasis on increasing the usage or bring over middle school students to the high school to utilize what is available. Thought was that maybe 15% of youth could benefit from some type of membership or bus pass program. The youth discussed perhaps doing a survey to find out what youth want and why they aren’t using what is available. There was also discussion that between schools there is a difference in what activities are available to students. Students on base already have access to a youth center.

Haga asked reps to bring this item back to their schools and ask:

1) Is there a lack of facilities?
2) Is there a problem with getting there?
3) Is it access i.e. membership?

Youth discussed that one area lacking is a replacement for 414, just a place to hangout, maybe play video games, etc. Some students have started going to the mall, but then get kicked out is they are just hanging out. The Rock in the old Trophy House building offers music and some youth events but is very small. It’s sponsored by Hope Church and not well known. Something like this would be more beneficial to those not into typical athletic extracurricular activities. The group suggested it would be nice to get a space even in the new wellness facility that maybe a space for teens could be included.

C) Celebrate the Night

Michele Kjelshus from the Celebrate the Night Committee informed the youth about the upcoming event planned for New Year’s Eve at the Alerus Center that is a replacement event for First Night. It will include music, activities for young children, and a teen game room. They are looking for volunteers to help staff the event.

Youth were interested in volunteering at the event and also on making posters to display in their schools to promote the event to their friends. Any volunteers for the event will receive a t-shirt and a wristband so that they can enjoy the event during times they are not working. The youth also suggested perhaps adding youth representation on the board for planning next year’s event would be beneficial to the event.

Youth Voice

Haga stated that one challenge is how to communicate information. One expectation for commissioners is that they bring information back to their schools and share with their peers and bring the peers feedback to the Commission meeting each month. Some ideas were email, text, posters, and school announcements.

Haga asked that youth report back at the next YORS meeting what they had done to get the message out from this month’s meeting.

Presentation of Mayor’s Cabinet Member

Haga stated that at future commission meetings he will have a member of the cabinet attend to share information about the entity that they represent on the Cabinet. The hope is that will increase the youth knowledge of some of those programs in the community.

Discussion of January agenda items

Suggestions for items for the January agenda are:

1) New American Tote Program
2) Talk about need for a teen place similar to 414
3) Driving and Parking Issues at High Schools
4) Alcohol Issues with Adults providing alcohol to teens
5) Cell Phone policy at school and conflict with Text a Tip program

Meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.