Yolo Youth Commission hosts first Teen Leadership Workshop

Youth from across Yolo County gathered at the Yolo County Office of Education for a teen leadership workshop hosted by the Yolo Youth Commission. The group is shown with County Supervisor Don Saylor (in front) and County Superintendent Garth Lewis (far right). (Courtesy photo)

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By Anthony Volkar

Special to the Express

On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Yolo Youth Commission hosted its first youth leadership event with “Seeding Success for Self,” a free one-day leadership workshop for teens ages 13–18. The all-day workshop was hosted at the Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE) in Woodland. The event opened with a welcome from County Superintendent Garth Lewis and a keynote address from Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor.

The workshop was designed to prepare youth to serve as leaders in the community and included training on goal setting, time management, self-care and setting boundaries. Youth from Winters, Davis, Esparto, West Sacramento and Woodland were in attendance.

The conference was timed to coincide with the upcoming launch of the Yolo Youth Commission. During Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board reviewed and approved the appointments of 15 youth commissioners.

Winters High School student Miles Mariani is the lone youth commissioner from Winters. Mariani is joined by 14 others from Esparto, Yolo, Woodland, West Sacramento and Davis.

The 15 youth commissioners were appointed to a one-year term and may be reappointed for one additional one-year term. To reflect the diversity of the county, three youths representing each of the five supervisorial districts were selected. Applicants were nominated, referred, or self-applied and went through a rigorous interview and selection process to receive an appointment.

In all, 87 youths applied to serve on the youth commission, with over half of the applications coming from the fourth supervisorial district in Davis, which is represented by Supervisor Jim Provenza.

The selected commissions span from the seventh grade to the 12th grade. To be eligible for the commission, youth were required to be between the ages of 13 and 18 and reside in Yolo County.

The Yolo Youth Commission plans to begin meeting twice monthly starting in January 2023. Commissioners will discuss community issues to better understand the needs of youth and teens in Yolo County. There is no cost for the youth to participate in the commission. In addition to monthly meetings, youth will also receive leadership training and development opportunities to support them in their role as community representatives.

In May, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to establish the youth commission as a two-year pilot program and authorized YCOE to administer the program. The pilot is being funded by county cannabis tax revenue with additional grant funding from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center.

Once formed, a key function of the youth commission will be conducting an annual review of grant proposals to youth-centered efforts or youth organizations serving Yolo County. A total of $160,000 per year will be available for youth-centered grants during the two-year pilot.

Watch the Yolo Youth Commissioners being approved by the Yolo County Board of Supervisors on Yolo Youth Commission Facebook page at https://fb.watch/gZ09Z-h-jA.

Updated to include video link

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