A Tuolumne County commission established exclusively for local students is seeking new members as it wraps up its first term.
The county’s Youth Commission will likely need at least seven students to volunteer for two-year terms beginning in September. The commission has been meeting monthly during the school year since September 2010, with its members interacting with county officials and discussing local issues.
The 10-member commission was established by the county Board of Supervisors to be an advisory body to the board on youth-related issues. Members must be between the ages of 13 and 18, and must fill out individual applications to be approved by the county Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Liz Bass, who spearheaded the Youth Commission’s formation and serves as its liaison to the board, said the first term offered a chance to see what works as they move forward. Bass said the commission in the coming term will likely focus on issues and work on projects that can be handled within the supervisors’ chambers, where they meet.
Because the members are students, major projects with workloads outside of the meetings can be a tough task, she said. The more productive sessions, Bass said, involved round-table discussions with county officials.
“We had two years to kind of experiment back and forth with the system we were using to accomplish the mission,” Bass said.
In some cases, the commissioners learned about major issues in the community. One session in the first term involved a presentation from county code enforcement, showing sometimes unsafe conditions in which local residents live.
Other times, the students did the advising. Bass recalled a commission meeting with public health officials to discuss a health and nutrition grant. During the discussion, commissioners gave input on issues like nutrition, obesity and fitness. And while many of the suggestions did not fit with the grant, it was a chance for the commissioners to give formal input to county staff and join the process.
“There were some great discussions on nutrition, obesity, all kinds, from their point of view,” Bass said.
Though there is not an official deadline, the Youth Commission’s term begins in September. And while there are limited spots, the commission will include two alternates, and Bass said extra applicants will have an opportunity to join if commissioners have to resign due to time constraints or other reasons.