The Buckeye Youth Council applications are now open.
The council is for children who reside in Buckeye and are enrolled in grades eighth through 12th, and Jeanine Guy, a councilmember for the Buckeye Youth Council, said the council is designed to educate members about government and advocate for youth issues.
“I think that it’s imperative to get the feel of your youth,” Guy said. “I think sometimes they have a better handle on some of the issues and problems that affect the youth in our community. We are also interested in training and exposing these young people to what city government is like. They are our future, and the more I’m around it the more excited I am about it. We want to give them the opportunity to learn what it would be like to serve either in city government or as an elected official.”
Guy said she wanted a Buckeye Youth Council when she served as city manager. Since retiring from her government position and joining the council, she said the members have given her hope for the future.
“I’m amazed about what these kids accomplish,” she said. “These are all bright students. We have graduates that are going to Wesley, Emory Riddle and Vanderbilt. It’s just exciting to see how much they have to offer and the diversity they bring. The other thing that I have learned is their willingness to do community service.
“They give a lot of volunteer hours to many different organizations, which also gives them an opportunity to learn about the different service organizations in our community.”
Specifically, she said the council has focused on mental health issues and homelessness — even working with the Homeless Youth League to donate gift bags filled with gift cards and hygiene products.
Beyond helping those in need, Letura Kepa, a senior member who will attend Vanderbilt University next fall, said the council also develops well-rounded individuals.
“There are so many opportunities given to you, not only volunteering but networking and really meeting with people who could really help you determine what you want to do with your life,” Kepa said. “At first it seems very radical, but you grow into it. It’s not something you just jump into. They slowly help you integrate. They teach you what it means to be with other leaders and with the community and how to work with them intimately.”
One way the council teaches members to work intimately with the community is through the senior project, where seniors on the council create a project on a subject of their choosing. Kepa’s senior project will celebrate librarians.
“I’m doing a librarian appreciation luncheon,” she said. “I am originally from Glendale, and as a child, my parents took me to the library every weekend. I grew to have a really special relationship not only with the library but the librarians. They really had a significant aspect in my upbringing by helping me decide what passions I wanted to do in life and were really supportive. Then I came to Buckeye looking for the opportunity to actually show this appreciation, so I came to the youth council.
“I am putting together a really special luncheon where I’m inviting the librarians from city branches, elementary schools and high schools to come and hear my proclamation about how the community appreciates them for all the work they’ve done for us.”
With the council participating in so many activities, Guy did warn that it is a significant time commitment. However, she wants people who are passionate about youth issues and government to apply.
“The world can be a negative place, and sometimes the youth get painted in a negative light,” she said. “It’s just not true. There’s so many kids out there doing good things, good work and valuable things for their community. This is really a good opportunity for those kids to join with other teams who have those same goals.”
If you are interested in joining the council, visit buckeyeaz.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/11309/637818487457070000 (no hyphen) for the application, which is due by Sunday, April 30.