Lloydminster recently had a swearing-in ceremony for its first ever Lloydminster Youth Council, a group of bright minds that will bring the concerns of its peers to the table and be the voice of the city’s younger demographic.
“I’m glad to finally see it move forward, be official and to show off our youth council to the rest of our community,” said Coun. Jason Whiting, whose idea it was to create the organization.
He said it took roughly one year from the first conversation regarding a youth council to the swearing-in ceremony, which took place on Monday evening at the City Hall council chambers.
There were a lot of discussions and plenty of planning that went into creating the group, which Whiting also credits other steering committee members in helping make a reality.
The Lloydminster community was asked for nominations of young people who would be suited to comprise the council, and youths could also nominate themselves if they felt up to the challenge.
“We had a great response; we had 15 applicants and they’re all here behind us today and we’re pleased with that,” Whiting said.
“This is something that is going to continue on, hopefully throughout the years, and will eventually grow into a larger organizations as it goes forward.”
The youth council is now in its infancy, starting from scratch as Whiting puts it, and where it goes and what tasks it takes on are completely up to the members.
The next step for the young organization will be to hold regular meetings and figure out a game plan to set its own priorities.
“Is it creating something for the youth? Is it providing change somewhere? It’s a variety off things,” Whiting said.
“I look forward to them figuring that out themselves.”
Ideally, Whiting would like to see the group attend city council meetings throughout the year and give feedback and input from its youthful perspective.
He said it will be responsible for bringing the voice of its peers not just to municipal government, but the community as a whole, like the school divisions and even provincial and federal leaders.
Tori Baynton, who was voted to chair the Lloydminster Youth Council, said the group has a few ideas as to what it may do, which at present is just to engage the unengaged and give other youths opportunities where they had none before.
“Just engaging those people who wouldn’t be out at events. If we were to have an event for youth, just give some kids the opportunity to come out; we want them to be involved and feel welcome,” she said.
“Really anything where there could be a problem, we want to try and make Lloyd a better place in general and so we’re hoping to do that.”
Baynton has always had a passion for helping out where she can and jumped on the chance to be part of the Youth Council.
The idea of a group that could help make the city a better place, give kids new opportunities, and learn from adult mentors appealed to her in a big way.
“I was really pulled to come and help out, to get the opportunity to give my efforts and give my all in trying to help out.”