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Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - - 11:30 a.m.

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

The Youth Commission met at the Alerus Center. The group recognized that there was a new member present today and did introductions around the table.

Commnity Involvement Issues – New American Totes.

Students shared what the YORS groups had worked at within their schools for assisting with this project. Projects include a Penny War to raise funds to use toward the program, a general collection of bathroom items at a central location in the school, each grade collecting towards a tote.

Karen Axvig reported that UND does have a DVD about their program, but it is for the new Americans coming in and not for those wanting to donate or assist with the program. She also reported that Lutheran Social Services has a website and some print information that could be used.

The group discussed that it would be nice to have something that could be shared with students within the schools. Some schools might be able to set up a computer in a central area to allow the website to be shown, but a short dvd would be better.

Pete Haga offered that the City has video creation capabilities and would be willing to work with UND and the Youth Commission to create a three to five minute video and include powerpoint slides with information on the program. Abby from Community, Britany from South and Jordy from Red River will each work on a short script to be included in the video. Ideas were to include a new American student, possibly someone from the Adult Learning Center that works with new Americans.

The group should work on this in the next couple of weeks so that a copy of the video could be played at the next Youth Commission meeting.


Andrew brought a flashdrive with some student designs for a YORS Logo which were created as a class assignment in a class at Red River. The students reviewed the designs and voted for the top two that they liked.

Mayor’s State of the City Speech

Youth Commission attended the Mayor’s State of the City Speech.

Community Involvement Issues – Wellness Center Survey.

Abby reported that she was still looking for some question ideas from the schools.

Twining reviewed what they had done within their school and looking at needs that were specific to the base. They shared some youth opportunities that exist on base, such as the bowling alley which has a teen night and the funding that the base recently received to upgrade their youth facilities. Youth that don’t live on base can bring some forms of documentation and register for an i.d. with the guard at the gate and then would be able to come onto the base and utilize the facilities on base. Youth expressed that it is a great opportunity, but transportation could be an issue for many youth.

The group discussed that the on-line survey will be mainly focused on the wellness center for the Park District and were looking for general questions for the whole community. They discussed potential ways that could be made more available to youth to take it like perhaps in a class or on common computer at school as sometimes hard to get youth to respond to a survey just on their own. Abby reported that she has talked with individuals in the technology area for the school and there is also the ability to set up the survey on-line as a link from the school district web page. The group discussed that the intent is to just include youth in the community and with the survey out there on the website anyone could potentially take it even those from outside the community and school system.

The group discussed the best way to share information amongst themselves. An email list was circulated and will be given to Karen and Abby. Abby will create a facebook group that is invitation only so that Commission members can have a place to submit their ideas and look at what other schools come up with. Everyone needs to get their suggestions to Abby by March 5 at the latest.

Feedback on the Speech

Karen Axvig commented that the tie in of the Immigration Integration Program was a direct tie in to the tote program that the Youth Commission is involved with. Also it was great to hear about Launch Grand Forks, as there are Commissioners that are just about to graduate and move into the young adult phase that program is targeted at. Other comments were that youth liked to hear about the expansion in the downtown and the collaboration with UND and others.

The group discussed briefly reasons that some feel they need to leave the community, including the weather. Pete Haga noted that the trend seems to be changing in that some are realizing they don’t have to leave the community to secure challenging jobs.

Driving and Parking Concerns

Tabled until future meeting.

Alcohol Use by Youth

The group discussed alcohol use by youth in the community. Mary Lien reported that the next survey will be done in March and she will bring the results and share with the group once it’s tallied. Youth shared examples of problems with alcohol and other substances in the community. Some felt that for their school it wasn’t as much alcohol use as it was huffing and smoking, but other schools reported that alcohol was more prevalent. The message about substance abuse is heard a lot in the schools including during health classes, but some youth still choose to use.

The group discussed that some youth get involved due to lack of activities. Some cited that they and friends don’t use because they are involved in sports or other activities and know that if they do use they could get caught and not be able to participate. The group discussed that the loss of 414 as a teen spot has been detrimental to some youth and they have now turned to unhealthy behaviors because they don’t have a place to hang out. The YMCA is looking at trying to offer more, but youth need a place to go now. Besides losing 414, the pool hall is now 21 and over only so youth can’t access it either.

The group discussed that fines and jail don’t seem to be a motivator to keep some youth from using, but in other areas they have started requiring the youth and their parents to perform community service and that has seemed to be more effective. Chase commented that parental support is important. The group discussed education as a means to combat attitudes about drinking, maybe need more of the youth in the community educating the parents. Mary Lien reported that from last reports we issued 108 citations for alcohol use and that is down and is same level as Jamestown, a community that is ¼ the size of Grand Forks. The group discussed that one reason citations may be down is that the trend is shifting more to house parties where adults are allowing youth to drink in homes.

There are also a lot of kids that aren’t in sports or other activities and need to find a way to also educate them. Kids talking to kids may be more effective than adults talking to kids. Ads and media often portray that you are cooler or more mature if you drink, maybe need to start portraying the opposite that drinking underage is immature behavior. The group discussed different ways to get the message out, maybe radio or education channel. Some kids flip stations and don’t listen to commercials and also probably don’t watch the channels that youth would be able to get a message on for little or no cost.

The group discussed that it might be better to try and address the positive impacts of not using alcohol than to try and keep addressing the negative for using.

Meeting adjourned at 1:45.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherie Lundmark
Admin Spec Sr.