Supervisor Frank Mecham visits with youth commissioners
Mecham spearheaded the establishment of the youth commission in 1999
–County Supervisor and past four-term Mayor of Paso Robles, Frank Mecham provided student members of the Paso Robles Youth Commission insight into city and county government process and offered words of wisdom and encouragement during their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at the Paso Robles School District Office.
The Paso Robles Youth Commission serves as a formal advisory body to the Paso Robles City Council and is comprised of twelve high school students (three of whom are alternates). All candidates are interviewed and ultimately appointed by the City Council. Mecham spearheaded the establishment of the city’s first youth commission in 1999. “The Youth Commission was so important to me because I knew how valuable it would be to hear directly from the youth of our city and learn about their thoughts and concerns,” Mecham said during the meeting.
Mecham offered life lessons and insight on a range of topics including being punctual, “If you can’t be on time, be early,” he told them. Mecham also encouraged the students to stand up for their beliefs and remain committed, “Sometimes your vision will go against the grain, but keep at it,” he said. The students shared their goals and future plans with Mecham and learned about current water issues in the county as well.
The meeting began with a team building activity in which the youth commissioners were divided into two groups working in partnership with Mecham, Paso Robles City Council members John Hamon and Steve Gregory, Library and Recreation Services Director Julie Dahlen, and Paso Robles School Board representatives Dave Lambert and Joan Summers. The teams were challenged to build the tallest tower possible using only plastic drinking straws and tape.
“The Youth Commission is a strong and positive voice of teens in our community,” said Lynda Holt, recreation services manager. “Commissioners bring forth issues, work on a variety of community service projects, offer the recreation division ideas for youth programs in Paso Robles and do advocacy work. In the process, they learn a great deal about how city government works.”
Paso Robles School District Superintendent Chris Williams said, “The youth commission provides students the opportunity to connect with local government and to be the voice for our youth. It is an outstanding opportunity for students to make a difference and to cultivate their leadership skills.”
For more information about the youth commission or to apply to be a member of the commission for the 2016-2017 school year visit http://www.prcity.com/government/advisorybodies/youth.asp or contact Lynda Holt, recreation services manager at (805) 237-3987. All applications must be received by April 8, 2016.