Students get a dose of local government
By Taylor J. Hale
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Students from area schools are getting a dose of local government.
The Mayor’s Youth Council, spearheaded by Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink, gives high school students a chance to connect with the government in a new, hands-on way.
“The primary purpose is to get involved with local government,” Vruwink said. “To learn more about it, and to serve as an advisory role to me on youth issues.”
The youth council accepts roughly 20 students each year from Lincoln, Assumption, Port Edwards, and Nekoosa high schools.
Participants in grades nine through 12 attend monthly meetings, organize public events, and aid the mayor with numerous tasks. Members serve a two-year term and can reapply after their term is served.
“It teaches kids about local government and civil issues,” Vruwink explained.
The council broke down into sub-committees, where students can further hone their skills in a specific field, including: legislative, community, and recreation sections. Each sub-committee comes with its own set of responsibilities and project work.
Vruwink said he didn’t have easy access to local government experiences when he was in high school, and he wanted to change that for current students.
“We find this is a perfect conduit to get students involved with government, and to make sure there is the youth voice represented in the city,” Vruwink said. “And hopefully, they stay civically engaged after high school.”
The youth council announces new members each fall.
The next Mayor’s Youth Council meeting is Jan. 8. To learn more about this group or to apply, visit www.wirapids.org/mayors-youth-council.html.