Village hopes to educate youth, mold future community leaders
Wesley Chapel wants to show support for their younger residents by creating a youth council committee. The village council officially adopted a proposal given by Weddington High School senior Haley Bennett and established the committee Oct. 10.
The youth council committee will consist of students in grades 10 to 12 who are Wesley Chapel residents. The students can be members of local high schools or homeschooled and will serve a term of one to two years on the committee.
Committee members will participate in a variety of activities, including service projects and youth events in Wesley Chapel, Weddington, and the greater part of Union County. Members will also be required to attend regular youth council committee meetings.
The committee will serve as a voice for the youth of Wesley Chapel and will be able to represent their population officially. Youth council committee members will be encouraged to attend Wesley Chapel’s village council meetings, where they will have the opportunity to address the council.
Bennett, a Girl Scout, was working on her Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive, when the idea came to her. Seeing the need to involve Wesley Chapel youth in community affairs, she decided to work on establishing a Wesley Chapel youth council for the Gold Award’s required large-scale service project.
Bennett contacted village council member Kim Ormiston in August, requesting to speak to the council at one of the regularly scheduled meetings. Bennett gave a presentation to the council members, who subsequently decided to support the formation of a youth council committee. “Being informed and even being able to form opinions is an important civic duty. The teenagers are going to be the future, so we might as well involve them now,” Bennett said in her proposal.
Ormiston volunteered to be the liaison between the village council and the youth council committee and has spent time meeting with officials from local high schools, urging them to support the youth council committee. “Municipalities across the nation have established youth councils. In my research, I have found (youth councils) to be very successful,” said Ormiston.
Through the establishment of such a committee, the village council hopes to help develop vital skills for the next generation of community leaders. The council also will strive to educate these students about the role of local government and stress the importance of exercising civic duties.
Over the next few weeks, the council will accept applications from students desiring to be a part of the youth council committee. “It’s important to involve youth in the community, and I’m really looking forward to doing that,” said Ormiston.
For more information or to apply, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the town hall at 704-243-7391. Visit www.wesleychapelnc.com for regular updates.