UW-Extension is working with county boards and city councils and their committees to include youth representation in several Wisconsin counties.
Youth Representatives on Full Elected Board
Adams County: The Adams County SAYL Program helps young people and government officials work together. The purpose of the program is to create a model of youth involvement within Adams County through direct participation in local government. The overall goal is to engage youth in community issues and concerns while fostering the development of confident, independent, and motivated youth leaders. SAYL Through an application process youth are selected to serve on the County Board including one of four Adams County Board Committees where they have a voice in the decisions that affect them and their community locally.
Douglas County and City of Superior: Three youth representatives and three alternates are selected by application and appointed to two-year terms. Representatives cast advisory votes and alternates serve on standing committees. Youth receive meeting stipends for their participation. In the City of Superior, two youth representatives and two alternates are selected by application and appointed to two-year terms. Representatives cast advisory votes and alternates serve on standing committees.
Oneida County: Youth representatives and alternates serve one-year terms on the county board and may cast an advisory vote.
Vilas County: This initiative provides youth an opportunity to play a valuable and active leadership role in the governance of the county while enhancing their interest in the operation of local government and civic participation. Two youth are selected to serve a one-year term (September – August) with the opportunity for a possible second term. The youth representatives select a committee that they serve on in addition to the full county board. Youth who have served in these roles have found their experience to be very valuable and educational. County board supervisors support this initiative and recognize the value of having the voice of young people on the board.
Washburn County: Three youth representatives and two alternates are selected by application and appointed to one-year terms. Representatives cast advisory votes and serve on standing committees. The Washburn County Board of Supervisors welcomes youth in grades 9, 10, and 11 who live in and/or go to school in Washburn County to apply to serve as youth representatives on the County Board. This initiative provides Washburn County youth an opportunity to play a valuable and active leadership role in the governance of the county while enhancing their interest in the operation of local government and civic participation.
Youth Representatives on Committees
Dane County: The Dane County Youth Governance Program engages youth in direct participation in county government decision-making; provides real-life learning opportunities for youth in the functioning of local government; and brings a direct youth voice to community issues and concerns while fostering the development of confident, capable and independent leaders for the next generation. Each year, up to 12 youth are selected for YGP. Each youth representative is appointed to a Dane County Board committee for a one year term from June 1st through May 31st, and is matched with a supervisor-mentor on their committee. YGP mentors closely assist youth in learning about and contributing to the governance process. YGP youth have the same opportunities for committee participation and involvement as elected county supervisors, except that they have a non-binding advisory vote. Youth representatives may be appointed to the following committees: Environment, Agriculture, & Natural Resources; Food Council; Health & Human Needs; Park Commission; Personnel & Finance; Public Protection & Judiciary; Public Works & Transportation; Extension Committee; and Zoning & Land Regulation.
Kenosha County: The purpose of the Youth In Governance program is to create a model of youth empowerment within Kenosha County through direct participation in local government and community service. Youth participating in the program serve on each of the Kenosha County Board Committees and the Joint Services Board. Two youth representatives sit on Finance/Administration, Human Services, Judiciary & Law, Planning, Development & Extension Education, Public Works/Facilities, and Joint Services. They are selected by application to the Planning, Development & Extension Education committee. YIG members participate in discussions and cast advisory votes. For more information, an evaluation paper was published in 2014.
The Marquette County Board of Supervisors welcomes youth in grades 11 and 12 who are residents of Marquette County to serve as Youth Representatives on the County Board. Up to nine youth can be selected through an application process. Youth serve as voting members on standing committees. Selected students serve a one-year term of office. The Marquette County Youth in Governance Program provides an opportunity for Marquette County youth to play a valuable and active leadership role in the governance of the county, while enhancing their interest in the operation of local government and civic participation.
Racine County: Ten youth representatives serve in an advisory capacity, with two serving on each Racine County Board Committee: Economic Development and Land Use Planning, Finance and Human Resources, Government Services, Health and Human Development, and Public Works, Parks and Facilities.