CLARKSVILLE, IN (June 21, 2022) – For the first time in history, youth in the Town of Clarksville have an official voice in their municipal government. During Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, Council President Ryan Ramsey helped to swear-in the Town’s first Youth Council. The Town Council approved a resolution in March creating the new body made up of students from Clarksville High School, Providence High School, Silver Creek High School, and Jeffersonville High School. All students must be Clarksville residents.
The students sworn-in included: Alondra Feng-Baez and Joel Menes Hernandez of Clarksville High School, Eva Wheatley of Silver Creek High School, Aidan Niemi of Jeffersonville High School, and Jillian Hinton of Providence High School. Two students were unable to make the meeting and will be sworn-in at a later date. Those students are Abigail Hicks of Jeffersonville High School and Regan Hinton of Providence High School. There is still an open position from Silver Creek High School which has yet to be filled by the school.
According to the Town Council resolution, two students from each school will be appointed each year by their respective high school principals. The terms would begin during the Summer, with new Youth Council members being selected each spring. A youth council is an advisory body composed of local youth, that provides advice and counsel to the local governing body and its affiliated regulatory boards and commissions, as well as other community organizations. The Youth Council will also be able to implement and participate in a variety of youth-identified community initiatives. Clarksville Communications Director Ken Conklin is tasked with overseeing and advising the Youth Council program.
“Our goal with this program is to give our youth a voice in their local government,” said Conklin. “Any Clarksville resident, 17 and under, will have the opportunity to address the Youth Council and share any concerns they may have. It will then be up to the Youth Council to address those concerns or take them to the Town Council for consideration.”
Like the Town Council, the Youth Council will elect a President, Vice-President, and Secretary. The President of the Youth Council will be responsible for attending Town Council meetings and reporting the activities of the Youth Council. If there is a youth concern they are unable to handle or address, the Youth Council President may ask the Town Council for assistance.
“I believe this program will be win-win for everyone involved,” said Conklin. “The students will have have their voices heard by Town leaders, and at the same time, Town leaders will be able to have input from what some consider to be an underrepresented portion of our population.”
The first meeting of the Youth Council will be held in July. Councilmembers will use that meeting to elect their leaders, organize their priorities, and learn how meetings will run. Local youth will have their first opportunity to address the council at their second meeting in August. Any Clarksville residents ages 17 and under who wish to address the Youth Council may contact Ken Conklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.