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Youth Commission Meeting Synopsis
February 21, 2007 - - Noon - - Council Chambers

Pete Haga opened the meeting with a brief welcome.

Mark Rath led two mixers.

Pete Haga gave a brief review of the history of the Mayor’s Cabinet on Youth and asked cabinet members in attendance to introduce themselves. The Mayor’s Cabinet was called by Mayor Brown to address the issue of youth needs in the community with an overall objective of making the community safer and better for our youth. Mayor’s Cabinet Members come from a variety of community organizations that interact with youth.

Mayor Brown gave a brief welcome to Youth Commission Members.

Pete Haga stated that the roles of the Cabinet will be to listen to the voice of the commission and to act on the thoughts of the Commission. The Mayor’s Cabinet on Youth is a group of community members recruited by the Mayor to work on a task force to work on keeping the community a good place for youth and to recommend community improvements that would benefit youth. The Youth Commission is comprised of youth representatives from all of the middle and high schools in Grand Forks and the Grand Forks AFB. The Commission will be a vehicle for youth to make suggestions and discuss issues in the community that affect youth.

Commission members suggested the following roles that they felt the commission should have:
Ø Make suggestions for things that would improve the community environment for youth.
Ø Be a voice for their peers.
Ø Define problems the affect youth and discuss potential solutions.
Ø ACTION - - Get Things Done.
Ø Serve as a connection between middle school and high school youth.
Ø Make Young People and “Not so Young” people feel more comfortable with each other.

The meetings will be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order.

Chris Rood facilitated the discussion of meeting logistics and action steps for the next meeting.
Ø Type of meeting to have. The group discussed whether there should be one large group meeting, a meeting of all middle schools and a meeting of all high schools, or individual school meetings. Consensus was to have a combination, with individual meetings at each school, possibly mid-month, then a large combined group meeting at the end of the month. The possibility of having a time for all middle school reps to meet together and all high school reps to meet together, either as a part of the time for the large group meeting or at a separate time was also discussed. The feeling was that there may be some issues that are different for each part of the group and this would give them a chance to discuss their ideas and concerns with others in the same age group and then present to the whole group. The group also felt that there should be a meeting sometime over the summer to keep the momentum of the group going.

Ø Meeting logistics. The group discussed the best time of day to meet – either after school or over the lunch hour. Comments from the group were that it can be hard to always miss the same class, but that having a consistent time made it less confusing; consideration for time away from class and extra homework from missing classes could be difficult for some, but could be addressed by planning ahead and getting the assignments in advance; after school is difficult due to sports, other extracurricular activities and work conflicts; some days of the week see a lot of sport conflicts with missed class time (particularly Friday); getting a calendar of meeting dates for the whole year would help in setting up your schedule to be able to attend and give teachers advance notice. Consensus following discussion was to meet over the lunch hour (from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) with Wednesday being the day that worked best.

Ø All large group meetings should be held at a central location that remains the same. Full Commission Meetings will be held at City Hall in Council Chambers.

Ø Meetings should be held monthly. The Full Commission will meet the 4th Wednesday of the month, with individual school meetings to be set mid-month within each school. All Commission Members will be provided with a schedule of meetings for the year.

Ø The Commission Members discussed that within each school a spokesperson should be elected. This person could serve as the presenter for ideas from that school. Also, if a cabinet member has a conflict and is unable to attend a meeting, the spokesperson would be a point of contact that could make sure the thoughts get to the meeting.

Ø The group discussed whether or not officers for the Commission should be elected, such as chairperson and vice-chairperson. The intent would be that the officers would then facilitate future cabinet meetings. Consensus of the group was that until they got to know each other a little better it would be hard to elect within their membership and would prefer that at least the next meeting would be facilitated by a non-commission member. Each school will elect a representative that will commit to making the commission meetings.

Ø Discussed potential items for an agenda for the next meeting. Suggestions were: Cost of activities, Ways to meet others – hang out, Ways to bring all youth together for events, Teens at the base do not have enough to do, Transportation issues for students at the Base, Access to Base issues for friends wanting to visit youth that live on base, Swimming Pools, and Teen Clubs. Commission members expressed a desire to have an all middle school end of year and an all high school end of year event, perhaps a dance, and to discuss coordinating these events at the next couple of meetings. Agenda items were narrowed down and the March Agenda will include: 1) School Rep Introduction. 2) Individual School Report. 3) Discussion of ideas for end of year event. The group discussed that it would be helpful to allow some time for the middle schools and high schools to meet first for perhaps 20 minutes prior to sharing their ideas with the full group. The group consensus was also that ideas that are brought forward should be researched and not just “fluff”.

Ø The Commission will provide periodic reports to the City Council. The Commission will select a couple of their members to make these reports which will be given monthly with the first report being made after the April meeting.

Pete Haga will be responsible for contacting any cabinet members or other community members that the Commission wishes to have available at their meetings for reference and support. The Commission Members also expressed that once they put forth ideas/potential solutions for needs they see in the community that they would like constructive complete feedback from the responding individuals. In particular, if the idea is not something that can be carried out, to be informed what the obstacles are and why they can not be overcome. They also expressed that they would like to know up front if there is a flaw in the plan they are working on instead of being led on or having the idea just get dropped.