Youth In Governance

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The development of youth leadership is critical to building civic capacity and long-term community sustainability. When youth develop useful skills and build self-confidence, we establish capable, effective leaders for the next generation.  The purpose of the Racine County Youth In Governance program is to create a model of youth empowerment through direct participation in Racine County government. The overall goal is to bring a youth voice to community issues while developing confident, independent, and motivated youth leaders.

2017-18 Youth in Governance Representatives

Youth In Governance 2017-2018

Back row: Rasheed Muhammad, Public Works, Parks & Facilities; Ruby Ward, Finance & Human Resources; Patrick Goldammer, Government Services; Paige Betthauser, Public Works, Parks & Facilities.
Front row: Da’Zhur James, Economic Development & Land Use Planning; Ryan Anderson, Finance & Human Resources; Meghan Flynn, Health & Human Development; Katie Fruth, Health & Human Development; Isabelle Craig, Government Services; Giselle Becerra, Economic Development & Land Use Planning.

See past participants.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “YOUTH IN GOVERNANCE”?

Youth and adults working together in positions of authority to make decisions and take action to strengthen organizations, communities and society.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Over 2,000 Wisconsin residents came together in county-based conversations on youth development. They identified two top priorities which emphasize public support for the role of youth in building healthy communities and a vital democracy:

  1. Create a culture in which youth are equal partners in decision making and governance.
  2. Encourage youth community service and civic involvement.

Data from a 2010 Search Institute study, “Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth – Racine County Schools,” documented that only 20 percent of youth living in Racine County perceive that their community values youth; and only 24 percent believe that youth are given useful roles in the community. These results were among the lowest of all the assets measured and were lower than similar assets measured at a national level.  In direct response to these results, the Racine County Board of Supervisors created the Racine County Youth In Governance program in 2013.

BENEFITS

  • Youth volunteers have a voice in decisions that affect them.
  • As youth become stakeholders and change agents in communities and organizations, they bring perspectives, knowledge and relationships that lead to better decisions and more productive action.
  • Youth In Governance promotes positive outcomes among youth. It teaches the skills of active citizenship such as understanding how decisions are made and how to organize, plan, and communicate.
  • Our civil society is strengthened when youth become informed and thoughtful citizens. Young people with skills, knowledge, commitment, and experience can reflect upon the common good, become full members of their communities, and take political action.

PARTICIPATION

The Youth In Governance program consists of a maximum of 10 youth participants. No more than two youth will serve on a committee.  The requirements to participate in the Youth In Governance are:

  • Must be a high school freshman, sophomore or junior at the time of application
  • Must have a GPA of 2.5 or greater on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be a Racine County resident
  • Must be able to attend the committee meetings, typically occurring once or twice a month
  • Attend the Orientation in May and the Bus Tour of Racine County departments in June
  • We encourage each Youth In Governance group to do a project and it will be decided if and to what extent by the group at a later date.

Committee meetings are held in a professional, formal manner, based on Robert’s Rules of Order. Each youth member will have a non-binding advisory vote on the committee.  The youth members will be included in all open session discussions and votes at the committee level, but will not participate in portions of a meeting which are held in closed session.  Youth will not participate in debate during a full County Board meeting; however they may participate in the public comment period, as any citizen would.  Youth members will not be paid a stipend or mileage for attending meetings.

APPLICATION PROCESS

1. Youth must be nominated for the Youth in Governance program (see nomination form below.)

2. Youth nominees will receive a Youth in Governance application to complete along with a written reference form. Applicants must send the completed application by the deadline. The application consists of basic contact information, school, GPA, and questions about their intended objectives for the Youth In Governance program and how the program will increase their civic awareness and leadership skills.

3. The Government Services Committee of the Racine County Board will review the application materials and interview selected youth applicants. The committee will recommend up to ten candidates to the Racine County Board Chairman for official appointment.

Racine County Youth in Governance
Racine County UW-Extension
209 North Main Street, Burlington, WI 53105
262-767-2929
262-767-2949 fax
711 Wisconsin Relay
uwextension@racinecounty.com
https://racine.uwex.edu/

 Racine County Youth In Governance is a program of Racine County Board of Supervisors
in partnership with Racine County UW-Extension.
University of Wisconsin, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating. An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX and American with Disabilities (ADA) requirements.
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