Focusing time, energy and effort into our youth has always been of vital importance. The same child you once led in Sunday School, coached, had in your scout troop, or chaperoned on a field trip could easily become your employee in a few short years. If you did a really good job, they could become your boss. The gratification of knowing you helped someone achieve in this world is immeasurable.
The world has changed in the last few years, the great resignation opened more jobs and more opportunities than ever before. These opportunities have caused the need to be creative in the search for talent, innovative in filling roles, inclusive in the gathering of thoughts and accepting of diverse perspectives.
In Centerville, we have taken a unique step to infuse fresh perspectives. The City Council approved a Junior City Council Member Program. In conjunction with our high school, Danny Peterson, who is also a resident of Centerville, was selected to fill the seat. The new program kicked off at the beginning of this year. The junior council member will be seated until the beginning of the next school year.
The junior council member does not have voting power but is expected to read through the materials, prepare for the meeting, provide thoughts and feedback just like every other council member. This format is unique in the state of Minnesota, and we hope it is a blueprint for others to follow.
The Junior Council Member Program is mutually beneficial; it provides a tremendous growth opportunity to the young person selected, but it also provides the council with direct feedback from a demographic we may not normally hear from. Peterson helped us think about the addition of an App to go along with the revamp of our website.
The program has been incredibly successful! I encourage other councils and other organizations to consider finding unique ways to engage our youth.
As we work to plan for the future, why not secure the perspectives of those whom we are planning for. This is just another way we can display that we are truly “Stronger Together.”
D. Love is the mayor of Centerville.