We kicked of this year with a fantastic meeting! Colorado Youth Advisory members from across the state met in downtown Denver to plan for the year. Some members got up at 3 am in the morning!
To start, we would like to thank Senator Roberts, Representative Peniston, Representative Navarro and Greg Romberg, for being with us this past weekend and guiding us along. Senator Kefalas was unable to join us because he was running the New York City Marathon (where he finished in an outstanding 4:25!).
Logan and I were thrilled to see the passion for youth advocacy from the minute we walked in the door. As a council we learned about each other, discussed our plans for the year, and worked in groups discussing legislative issues.
Each year we are amazed by the diversity shown in COYAC, and this year was no exception. We saw diversity shown on many levels; we have members who compete in Bollywood dance, chess competitions, and debate tournaments. COYAC participants like to study everything from physics to history and political science. The representation from both rural and urban areas was also very apparent. It is clear the council is a reflection of the vibrant youth of Colorado. It was great to see so many backgrounds come together.
Furthermore, each member was enthusiastic about our new approach. This year COYAC will be examining key issues to a great extent. COYAC members plan to put a lot of effort into researching topics in the legislature and the effect they have on youth. Subject matter experts will attend our January meeting to address the issues from every angle possible. COYAC will use the next six months to prepare our recommendations which will be presented to a joint-committee of the Legislature.
The best section of the day, in our opinion, was when we split up into legislative committees depending on important policy areas. The prominent issues we feel that needed to be addressed are as follows: (no particular order)
- Energy & Environment
- College Prep
- Achievement Gap
- Mental Health
- Drugs & Tobacco use
Each member brought personal stories from their high school and lives to the discussion. We asked ourselves what we know and don’t know about the legislative topic. What would we like to learn? What would the youth from our senate district think about this issue? What can COYAC do?
As the executive committee we saw a new type of commitment from each COYAC member. Everyone is ready to represent the youth of Colorado and be an active member in youth advocacy. We look forward to our January meeting.
Thank you and stay tuned!
Co-Chair of Colorado Youth Advisory Council
Senate District 32 at-large (Denver)
Vice Chair of Colorado Youth Advisory Council
Senate District 6 (Durango)