Notes from Fall 2018 Advisor Meeting

Utah Association of Youth Councils Advisor Training Meeting Notes

Saturday, November 3, 2018
Centerville City Hall

Current Board

  • Lisa Summers , President
  • James Hood, President Pro Tem
  • Michele Wood, Treasurer
  • Stefani Jones, Secretary

Cities/Councils Represented

  • Bountiful
  • Centerville
  • Clearfield
  • Fruit Heights
  • Herriman
  • Mapleton
  • North Ogden
  • North Salt Lake
  • Price
  • Riverton
  • Sandy
  • South Salt Lake
  • Sunset
  • West Valley
  • Woods Cross

Notes

Annual Membership Dues & Benefits of Membership:

  • Dues are $5 per youth council member per year. (You do not need to pay dues for the advisors involved with the youth council.)
  • In the past, these dues have been paid with conference registration but starting this year dues will be collected by December 1 to signal “active” status with and membership in the association.
    • To pay your dues, please mail letter stating which city/council you represent and how many youth members your council has with a check for the appropriate amount payable to “Utah Association of Youth City Councils” to:
      Utah Association of Youth City Councils
      c/o Lisa Summers
      250 North Main Street
      Centerville, UT 84014
  • Cities/councils that are active members of the association are eligible to register for the spring leadership conference.
  • The advisors of active councils will be invited to attend training meetings.
  • Youth members of active councils are eligible to apply for the annual scholarship.
  • We encourage advisors from all member councils to consider serving on the board. Board members must be adults who are currently actively involved with their youth council. The board changes every two years–in spring of 2019 James Hood will become the president, a new president pro tem will be voted in by advisors, and the rest of the board will be chosen from volunteers. The size of the board and the specific roles of each person may change from year to year, as needed.

Scholarship:

  • The association has been unable to secure outside scholarship funding for the past two years, and so the board has determined to establish a scholarship fund created from $1 of each dues payment.
  • Two scholarships will be awarded in the spring. The amount of these will be depend on dues collected, but it is expected that each scholarship will be valued at approximately $200-$300.
  • To be considered for the scholarship, a person must be a senior in high school (graduating in the year the scholarship would be awarded) who is accepted to a college, university, or vocational training school AND must be currently involved with a youth council that is an active member of the Utah Association of Youth Councils.
  • Youth council members interested in being considered for the scholarship should discuss this with their youth council advisor(s). Advisors can determine whether they would like to have the youth formally apply to them in writing, in an interview, or otherwise.
  • The advisor(s) from each active member youth council can recommend one member from their council to the board to be considered for the scholarship. These recommendations should be submitted by email to the secretary (Stefani Jones stefani.work@gmail.com), including an explanation of why the youth is deserving of the scholarship no later than February 1.
  • The board may have additional follow-up questions for the advisor(s) and will then select two scholarship recipients to be announced at the spring leadership conference.
  • Scholarship monies will be paid as a reimbursement or partial reimbursement for receipts related to school/training tuition, books, and fees.

Website: http://www.utahassociationofyouthcouncils.com (or .org)

  • If there are things you would like to see on the website, please contact Stefani Jones at stefani.work@gmail.com.
  • Next year after the leadership conference there will be a change to the board. Please consider serving on the board, especially if you have interest in posting to the website! Our new website is very easy to maintain, and Stefani will be happy to show the new person how to do it.

Charters:

  • The association’s charter hasn’t been changed at all since the association was created in 1991, so it’s time for a review! This document will be updated in the upcoming calendar year. The board will share the updated version with advisors in advance of the spring leadership conference, and during that conference it will be voted on.
  • Individual youth councils should also have their own charters. If your youth council uses public funds (e.g., the city sets aside part of its budget for the youth council), then you are required by state law to have a charter that the city can keep on file in case of an audit.
  • It’s also a good idea to make sure your city council is aware of the youth council charter and to have them ratify the charter when you are establishing it and when making changes to it.
  • Lisa shared Centerville’s charter, and there is a copy of a charter from Clinton on the website as well. James also shared North Salt Lake’s charter. There is no one “right” way to do it, but it is important to have a charter to help clarify your role in the city and more.

Utah League of Cities and Towns:

  • Among other things, the league sponsors the Local Officials Day at the Legislature for youth councils each year. In 2019, this event will happen Wednesday, January 30.
  • Do you feel it’s worth your youth council’s time to attend this event? Most comments were positive (youth council members enjoy it, they like to meet with the representatives, the scavenger hunt is fun, well-planned debates are interesting, etc.) and there were some criticisms (last year’s main session fell flat, the price is high, it’s hard to get students to miss school for it).
  • If you have feedback or other suggestions related to this event and other involvement with the league, please contact James Hood at jrhood88@gmail.com.

Conference:

  • We will be having two separate conference sessions in 2019: March 7-9 and March 14-16.
  • Registration will open on January 1, 2019, and you may register your youth council to attend either one of those sessions. Please pick one session–you will not be able register some kids from your city for one session and some kids for the other session.
  • Each session will fill on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you wait to register, the session you prefer to come to may be full. Please register early if you really want one or the other.
  • We will keep the 22-person cap per council (recommended: up to 20 youth and up to 2 adult advisors). If there are still extra seats available in either session at the end of January, we will open up those extra seats to additional members from councils that are already registered.
  • The board read all the feedback from last year’s conference and will be sure to make some adjustments in response to these. The thing people liked most about 2018 was intermingling with youth from different cities, but the biggest complaint was that there wasn’t enough time with your council. We’ll try to balance these better next year! There will be time set aside to be with your council as well as times to encourage mingling among councils.
  • We would like to encourage each council to keep track of service/good deeds they are doing before the conference and then bring those things written on pieces of paper to make a paper chain with everyone’s acts of service from across the state. It was suggested that we have each youth member do at least 10 of these before coming to the conference. More details about this will be coming with the conference details announcement.
  • We are not planning to have a food drive competition this year before the conference, but that is definitely a good service activity if it’s something your council wants to do.

Round Table Discussion Topics and Q&A

Presidential Service Award:
  • Michele Wood from Woods Cross shared what their council does for the Presidential Service Award each year–they have a service chair who records the service hours from each youth council member throughout the year and enters them on the website, and then at the end of the year the city orders the awards (there is a small fee for each one, but they come with certificates, pins, medals, etc.) and presents them at a recognition dinner. Some other councils also participate in this program, and it’s a good way to be recognized for the good things our youth are already doing and have another notable award for resumes and applications. For more information, you can go to https://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/
Organization in the city–who do you report to?
  • Several of the advisors have had trouble working with their city councils, and every city works a little bit differently. Some youth councils report to the city mayor, a specific city council member, the city manager, the recreation director, or another city employee. For those advisors having trouble working with their city, it was recommended that they find a consistent person at the city who can be a champion of the youth council. It was also recommended that the reporting of the youth council be codified in your city’s youth council charter–for example, your charter or bylaws may indicate that the youth council reports quarterly to the city council or that the mayor approves the youth council’s budget and service schedule annually.
Participation/attendance/interest–how do you get and keep people interested in your city’s youth council?
  • For youth councils that are new or struggling, it is sometimes a challenge to get youth to join or to keep the members of the youth council attending. There were lots of good suggestions of ways to overcome this:
    • Have open enrollment/application–let youth join the youth council throughout the year instead of only accepting new members once a year.
    • Offer incentives for consistent attendance–some cities have scholarships that are available only to active youth council members, some offer gift cards for meeting goals or as door prizes, and some have treats at meetings.
    • Identify the one or two youth who are really excited about what you’re doing as a council, and ask those people to help spread the word and invite others.
    • Advertise at your feeder schools.
    • Get the word out in your community, on your city website, or in a newsletter about applications and events your youth council is doing.
    • Have your youth council members wear shirts with the youth council name or motto.
    • Make sure your youth council members know each other so they will be more comfortable doing things together. Have a “getting to know you” day or do icebreakers and games at your meetings.
    • Host a retreat or other special activity each time you bring in a new group of youth council members.
    • Communicate consistently in a way the youth members will see/hear about what’s going on. Have a group text, or use an app like GroupMe or Slack. Some kids read emails, but very few are on Facebook. Make sure you know how to contact your group. Assign a communications person to help get the word out about meetings and activities among your members.
How many advisors does a youth council need?
  • Each city is different, and some may require a certain number of chaperones based on the size of your youth council (check with your city attorney or other city employees about this), but there is general agreement that sometime youth councils have “too many cooks in the kitchen.” There are some very successful youth councils that have only 1 or 2 advisors. A good rule of thumb ratio is about 1 adult per 10 youth, although this may need to be higher if your youth council is predominantly under 16. No matter the number of adults, encourage all the advisors to let the youth members run their councils as much as possible. The adults should be there to help/guide as needed, but this should primarily be a youth organization.
How do you get your community to participate?
  • Some of the same ideas as keeping people interested (above), but also some additional ideas:
    • Connect with other service organizations in your community.
    • Get to know your community–what would they like? (Food!)
    • Be where the kids are because that’s also where the parents are, and families are good groups to reach out to when creating new community traditions or providing service.
    • Offer to be of service to the city council.
    • If your city isn’t very interested, broaden your reach to neighboring cities and towns. Coordinate with other youth councils (or other groups in those communities) and participate in services and events together in each other’s communities.
Do you fundraise? If so, how?
  • Some cities have a budget for their youth councils, and that’s all the money that council needs/uses throughout the year. Some are responsible for fundraising all the money they need or collecting money from their members to fund projects. Some youth councils are in between with some city funding and some supplemental fundraising (sometimes for specific projects, like a Sub for Santa). Before doing fundraising, you may want to check with your city about the appropriate way to handle this. Some ideas from youth councils that have done fundraisers:
    • Host a Kids Camp after school gets out in the summer for elementary-aged kids. $50 per kid for a week of activities that the youth council plans and carries out.
    • Have a bake sale as a stand-alone event or in conjunction with another city event.
    • Charge for tickets at community events (e.g., Easter Egg Hunt).
    • Sell food at a festival, parade, etc. (Arts in the Park, 4th of July).
    • Solicit sponsorships from the businesses in your community–either as cash or other donations. Maybe have a business pay for your youth council t-shirts and then include the business logo on the shirt.
    • Also consider asking your city council for money (or additional money) if you need it for your youth council. Offer to provide services that will help the city reduce costs, such as gardening, park clean-up, etc.
Scholarships:
  • Some cities provide scholarships for youth council members, either with city funding or from fundraisers. One idea was to set aside $200 (or another amount) per youth member per year from the budget and then award scholarships at the end of a full year of service on the youth council. Another idea was to ask your city to establish a scholarship fund or do fundraising for a scholarship.

 

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