By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– High school students from across Apple Valley recently got the opportunity to make a difference in their community by participating in the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Summit.
This inaugural event, which was held on November 14, drew 33 high school students who got a behind the scenes look at how local government works. In addition to a tour of Town Hall, students from Granite Hills High School, the Academy for Academic Excellence, Apple Valley Christian School, Apple Valley High School, and the High Desert Premier Academy, experienced the roles that managers and staff play every day in their department.
The students got an in-depth look at each of the Town’s departments, and experienced a meet and greet lunch with Town Manager Frank Robinson, Mayor Art Bishop, several council members and Town staff.
“The event gave the students a chance to learn first-hand about the challenges faced in local government, as well as its role in our community,” said Mayor Art Bishop. “I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement of this group – our future is in good hands.”
Students were split into groups to review potential Town projects, not to exceed $1,000. Topics included a program to microchip the dogs of 100 senior citizens, a proposal to bring a new Dance Dance Revolution entertainment system to the Park and Recreation Department, as well as a marketing campaign to bring a new hotel to Apple Valley.
The day culminated with a mock Town Council Meeting where five students were selected to serve as council members. Their duties included hearing each of the staff reports and voting on one to bring to the real Town Council. After much deliberation, they chose the hotel marketing campaign for funding. The winning group presented their proposal to the actual Town Council at the December meeting. The Council voted unanimously to follow the recommendation of their youth counterparts.
“The Mayor’s Youth Leadership Summit was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the Town and what I could do within Apple Valley to help”, said Kayla Allen from Granite Hills High School. “I have a new interest in local government and helping Apple Valley flourish through things like volunteering and helping out in the community.”
With the funding of the project, the Town Council added the requirement that the winning group work with Town staff in the implementation. Orlando Acevedo, Economic Development Manager, will also allocate an additional $1,000 from his marketing budget to create a $2,000 campaign.
Student group leader Alexandra Gessesse noted during her staff report that a hotel would serve everyone from event attendees to hospital visitors, to those in Town for business for family purposes.
“This is such a fun and unique opportunity to work with these students to tackle a real-world project—to attract a hotel to Apple Valley. The students rallied behind this issue because like so many of our residents and visitors, they see the pent up consumer demand we have for local overnight accommodations,” said Acevedo.