Youth City Council sees first anniversary, has big plans for 2021
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Created as a way to bridge the gap between the Common Council and the city’s next generation, Rapid City’s Youth City Council has reached the one-year mark.
In it’s first year, Mayor Steve Allender and Common Council members agree that the Youth Council surpassed their expectations.
“There are young, bright, engaged individuals that have become a part of this Youth City Council,” said Allender. “And I think the common thought was in the beginning that this Youth Council could do some learning, they could learn from the City Council, and they could have some interactions with the City Council…and I think what’s happening, and what’s likely to happen, is that the City Council’s probably gonna be able to learn from the Youth Council.”
“I think they give us the youth perspective; they are an underrepresented and unspoken for large part of our community and they provide a perspective we don’t always listen to as elected representatives,” said Ward 4 representative Lance Lehmann.
Members of the cultural committee have been particularly active, using their platform to encourage movement on the tribal land issue and cultural awareness within the community. While the youth provide a much needed, sometimes unfiltered view of Rapid City, Allender says he would love to see younger members on the common council.
“Middle aged, or older people, I think, tend to realize that they are the only ones that have the good ideas or the experience necessary,” said Allender. “And I think what we’re seeing with the young generations is that we habitually underestimate them. The youth becoming involved in their communities, including government is essential for our survival.”
The council also has big plans for 2021, including an economic development committee that would help youth find careers in Rapid City.
Allender said, “I’m seriously impressed with what’s going on with them right now.”
“I would just like to say I am extremely proud of them and I’m very glad that they’re a part of our community,” added Lehmann.