Camp Verde plans include some new voices in some of its upcoming town-related decisions.Town staff will be working with leaders from the Camp Verde Community Library to implement a youth council to help inform the Town Council.
Inspiration to organize a youth council came after Camp Verde Town staff met with youth commissions from around the state at the annual League of Arizona Cities and Towns conference, said Camp Verde Economic Development Specialist Sebra Choe.
“We decided a core group of staff members should take the lead, so our initiative is a partnership between Camp Verde Community Library, Parks and Recreation, and Economic Development,” Choe said.
Residents younger than 18 make up approximately 22.6 percent of the population in Camp Verde, according to latest data from the United States Census Bureau. The idea behind this plan is to formally include Camp Verde youth in the process of shaping Camp Verde, Choe said.
“We would like youth to be represented in everything we do, but what that looks like specifically will be up to the young leaders,” she said.
Camp Verde isn’t alone in wanting to hear from its youth population in the Verde Valley. The city of Cottonwood has a Youth Advisory Commission made up of youth leaders and students in eighth through 12th grades.
Members plan and participate in city projects and events as well as serve as youth advocates working with Cottonwood City Council.
Camp Verde Mayor Charlie German said Town Council will support the youth council with whatever they need to establish themselves.
“One of the main objectives is to get our youth involved,” he said. “It’s for whoever shows up or who is interested. We want to open it up so they can go where they want to go and not be restricted. They are the future .... We need their voice.”
German, who has been involved in education for many years, said he thinks this will be especially helpful for students who may not always succeed academically.
“This may stimulate them to achieve at a higher level and give them purpose through the educational system,” he said.
German said he thinks youth interest in the town is already evident.
“With the number of people I saw represented at the MLK event, I do see an interest,” he said, referring to attendance at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march organized by a local student.
A recruiting event for the youth council will be on Saturday, Jan. 27 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Camp Verde Community Library at 130 Black Bridge Road.
The agenda for the recruiting event will include lunch, testimonials from students and small group brainstorming.
Kelcie Grega can be reached at 634-8551, or email email@example.com