The City Youth Advisory Board, created in 1991, serves as a liaison between the Oak Ridge City Council and the youth of the community. In the 27 years since its inception, the YAB has offered input on City issues and also provided activities and programs that enhance the lives of young people in Oak Ridge.
On Wednesday, August 1st, the newly appointed members of the City of Oak Ridge Youth Advisory Board attended their first meeting of the 2018-2019 term of office. City staff liaison Matt Reedy conducted the meeting and Sandy Sexton of the City Clerk’s office assisted the members through the swearing-in process. Lt. Governor Randy McNally and City Councilman Jim Dodson also attended the meeting to wish the students well on a new year.
YAB member and ORHS Senior Audrey Bufton was elected as YAB Chairwoman. In other elections senior member Jasleen Narula was elected as Vice-Chair, senior Alexis Hammond was elected as Treasurer, and senior Alexis Palau was elected Secretary.
The YAB discussed the continued support of its most popular events including Graduation Celebration, City Halloween Party, Breakfast with Santa, and annual Dodgeball Tournaments, while adding in new goals for the year based on student surveys and ideas from new members. Oak Ridge Public Library Director Julie Forkner proposed a YAB/Library partnership to create a space for teens on Wednesday afternoons at the Library. At the YAB meeting on Wednesday, August 15th, YAB members will discuss these issues and set annual goals.
“To host Lt. Governor Randy McNally and City Councilman Jim Dodson at the first meeting, while also seeing perfect attendance for a 16-member, teen board, I’d say we had a very successful start to the 2018-2019 YAB term”, Reedy stated. “The work is just beginning, because the next meeting will be a long and difficult discussion for these students as they narrow down their list of goals for the year.”
When asked, “What YAB means to me?” a few members gave the following statements. Serving in her first term of office, member Caroline Webb stated that “YAB is an opportunity for me to make a difference and to share the opinions of my classmates. I want to bring life to the youth community and make things happen.” Meanwhile, new member Nick Dallas stated that “YAB is a place where kids have a voice.” Member Mark Humphries said that “YAB is a great way to have a voice and to have a real impact on the community.” Returning for her second term, YAB member Maggie Froning said that “YAB is not only an opportunity to better my leadership skills, speak in a group, and feel like I play a role in my community, it also is a unique opportunity to share my skills in a way that can help others. New member Jessie Pitz thinks that “YAB is a way for students to implement their ideas on a city-wide level.”
YAB meetings are held twice per month on Wednesday afternoons at the Oak Ridge Civic Center and are open to the public. Board members serve a one-year term of office and must re-apply in the spring each year. If you have questions about the City YAB, contact Matt Reedy at 425-3442 or visit the City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department website at: www.orrecparks.org.