The Clermont Youth Council is growing its statewide presence.
All eight of its members participated in the Youth Council Summit at the Florida League of Cities’ (FLC) annual conference on Aug. 17 in Orlando.
“We’re proud of our young Champions,” Clermont City Manager Darren Gray said. “They represent our city well while contributing to these larger discussions.”
The City of Clermont was one of about a dozen cities represented with a record number of 117 youth in attendance.
“This high number of participants opened the door up for a wide variety of viewpoints to be shared,” Clermont Youth Council member Luis Mustafa said. “The Clermont Youth Council found ideas for potential future projects and looks forward to further discussion about how to utilize what we learned from this experience.”
Program sponsor and Clermont City Clerk Tracy Ackroyd Howe also participated. She was among 30-plus youth council leaders who met to discuss their programs’ successes and challenges.
“It was an informative session to learn about new programs and ideas for possible inclusion into our youth council, such as setting goals and creating a mission statement,” Howe said.
New FLC President Isaac Salver spoke to the youth council members and leaders about his initiative to educate kids in municipal government. He called upon the youth to mentor others.
FLC Director of Leadership Development and Education Scott Paine’s presentation focused the importance of talking about difficult issues in ways that invite participation from diverse perspectives. Youth groups were then encouraged to hold open space meetings with their peers. The Clermont Youth Council led a discussion on “how code switching has altered our perception of history.”
The Clermont Youth Council launched in September 2018 to give students an opportunity to learn more about city government with the support of the Clermont City Council and City Manager Darren Gray. The members, who attend three south Lake County high schools, are Mustafa, Aaron Curlee, Kristopher Ganesh, Megan Yurchick, Camille Eldridge, Kaylee Sakur, Mary Landaberde and Tyler Irby. They have met with state leaders in Tallahassee, toured the city’s departments, job shadowed staff and presented a project proposal to council. They are serving two-year terms, and the next program is planned to begin in Fall 2020.