With the loss of its volunteer coordinator and the inability to have a regularly scheduled meeting since June 2011, the Oakdale Parks and Recreation Department is restructuring its youth advisory commission into a youth council.
According to Oakdale Recreation Supervisor Linda Royalty, the move allows more flexibility and will allow the advisory board to be more efficient.
“When we looked at Turlock and Riverbank, that’s how they ran theirs,” Royalty said. “This will now be a club-like atmosphere with the kids being part of it with more buy-in.”
Even though the staff with the recreation department being cut and the youth commission not a budgeted item, Royalty felt the work done provided a vital part to the community and an important aspect in keeping lines of communication open between the city’s youth and the leaders making decisions.
By restructuring the “commission” into a “council” it will function predominantly as a club instead of a governmental commission. This type of alliance eliminates the need for postings of openings and meetings, following rules of order, and council interviewing of applicants.
“Under the current configuration we need to have an agenda and a quorum of members for an official meeting,” said Royalty.
Under Royalty’s proposal, there will be a three-member panel of the committee consisting of a president, vice-president, and secretary/publicist.
“We’re not going to tell them what to do,” Royalty explained. “We’re going to ask them what ideas they have to help the community. There’s not a lot for youth to do around here so this is an opportunity for them to bring ideas to city government.”
Royalty said that part of the recently obtained grant for the community skate park contained a provision that city youth were expected to give input for the park’s development. She expects the new youth council to play an important role in that participation.
Early feedback for the proposal has been positive, according to Royalty.
“I’m excited to hear what the kids want to do,” she said. “It’s a new program and I hope the youth run with it. They need something that’s theirs in the city.”
The Oakdale Youth Advisory Council is open to youth in grades 7 to 12 and will meet on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the city council chambers.
Applications can be picked up at the parks and recreation department at 280 N. Third Ave. or online at the city’s website at www.ci.oakdale.ca.us.