Last week at City Hall around a candy-covered table, an un-sugared conversation was happening about community resources, mental health, substance abuse, and making positive changes in Laramie. 

Albany County students convened for their regular Laramie Youth Council meeting, agendas in hand, minutes to discuss, and votes to record.

The council currently has eight members: Chair Carson Krueger, Vice Chair Trinity Sandoval, Treasurer Avery O’Flannigan, Secretary Ellen Hovannisyan, and members Brenden Browne, Eliz Hovhannisyan, Embree Miller, and Madison Newman.

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They have a list of community impact projects they’d like to explore and have one completed initiative under their council belt: The 2023 Laramie Youth Walk. They reflected on the walk and made improvement plans for the future. 

“We rushed it a little bit, but we were competing with a football game, a BBQ, and a bunch of other events, but it was still a pretty solid turnout,” Browne said. 

Considering they had one official meeting before the walk, it was more than solid for the civically-minded youth. 

Chair Krueger said the walk was one way for the council to spread awareness about community resources–like the local trails they were walking on, and use the walk as a segue into other community issues, like mental health.

He also wants to impact our community, and “show youth how they can get involved in local government.”

Vice Chair Sandoval echoed that motivation. “I want to show youth they have resources where we will actually help them and try to make the changes we want to see.”

Newman has her agenda; she wants to tackle substance abuse. “I want to help make a change for the youth in Laramie and help stop drug abuse and alcoholism. I’ve reached out to the police about DARE; that program wasn’t very effective, so I’m coming in with different ideas to discuss with them.”

City Council Member Joe Shumway was on the council and helped establish the group in 2015; they are aided by City Clerk Nancy Bartholomew, who leads them through the council processes.

"It is exciting to be able to better equip our youth with how to get involved in the community they live in a productive manner. This information should be helpful no matter where they go in the future. Maybe some of them will become elected officials in the future and work to ensure that their communities are great places to work and live. Government involves working together with opposing views to find the best policies for your community," Bartholomew said.

Youth Council is motivated, informed, and wants change and a voice for Laramie youth.

The group meets once a month and has openings for seven more members. For more information and an application, visit the City of Laramie Youth Council website here. 

 

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