The Youth Advisory Commission: Turning students into leaders

by / 0 Comments / 124 View / August 16, 2018

By Heather Regula, Correspondent



If you are a high school student interested in making a difference in our community and the lives of other youth, then the Youth Advisory Commission (YAC) might be ideal for you. The City of Belton’s Youth Advisory Commission, an official commission of high school students residing in the Belton Independent School District, is accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. 



“The goal of the organization is to develop youth leaders committed to learning about local government and the roles they can have in it.  Youth Advisory Commission members coordinate and run our annual One Community One Day event, a service day where community members assist those in the community who need assistance with yard work or other projects. YAC is a pretty neat deal – it’s a great way for Belton youth to give back to our community. We typically get the best of the best from our community,” explained Matt Bates, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Board applications were accepted through August 3. However, general applications, for consideration of acceptance as a YAC team member, are due by September 7. The board selection is fairly competitive – we have eight Commission spots and one Chair position. Recommendations are forwarded to the Mayor and City Manager for review. The Belton Mayor appoints board members. The 2018 Board members will be sworn in during the City Council meeting on August 28th.”



The Youth Advisory Commission started with a handful of youth when it first kicked off, and the first-year project was to clean a park. Now in its’ eleventh year, the organization has experienced tremendous growth and typically maintains a membership of around 40 kids. Last year’s One Community One Day event involved the servicing of 27 homes.



“Interested youth must meet one of the following requirements: attend a BISD school, be homeschooled and reside at a Belton address, or attend a private school and reside at a Belton address. I will have a table set up on at the Back to Homeschool Rally on August 9 at the Belton Church of Christ gym. I’m looking forward to reaching out to more homeschooled youth and increasing their involvement,” explained Katrina McGaughey, Parks and Recreation Events Coordinator. “All of the cities in Texas that have YAC attend a conference. There is a keynote speaker, and then other speakers. There are breakout sessions and a great chance for networking. Allows members the opportunity to see what other YAC groups are doing. I went last year with two YAC members. It’s something that we look forward to attending again this year. Team members are selected to attend based on their overall attendance and involvement.”



YAC members typically meet monthly, at 6 p.m., at the Harris Community Center for approximately one hour and earn volunteer hours for their involvement. This organization is an excellent way for youth to learn how government works and how to deal with a budget. An orientation for the YAC team, the Board, and their parents on September 17 at 6 p.m.