Stephanie Nelson, Ella Wofford, Jersey Orias, Garrett McNerney, Cheyenne Halfacre-Buie, Carla Betancourt, and Tatum Bracamonte. Not in photo: Hayden Lintz.
The Havasu Youth Advisory Council (HYAC) under the leadership of Mayor Mark S. Nexsen, will compete against two other youth councils, Surprise Youth Council and Young River People, at the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Youth Conference on Wednesday, August 24. The Center for the Future of Arizona and Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship + Innovation selected these youth councils to pilot a civic engagement challenge for seed funding to implement projects that enhance the culture of entrepreneurship, innovation, and civic engagement at the high school level in their hometowns.
The youth councils met during the summer at ASU in Tempe for a full day of leadership training to help kick off the competition and were provided with tools to choose a civic health behavior to improve in their communities.
HYAC Member and Lake Havasu High School Senior Garrett McNerney said, “A couple of key takeaways from the training were the ability to build upon our idea and then implement it into our community, and also learning new techniques to enhance our presentation and public speaking skills. We are very excited to lift up our community in a positive way and thankful for this amazing opportunity.”
HYAC hit the ground running when they returned and have been working over the summer with community leaders and residents to choose a civic health behavior that would make a long term impact. They chose to “take actions to build the community by working with neighbors to fix something.”
Without giving too much away to the competitors, the project is geared toward improving retention of quality teachers. This was one of the major issues that was brought up by community leaders at the Town Hall in August of 2015 for the America’s Best Communities prize competition discussion, and is also one of the goals for Vision 20/20, Pillar 2-Education and Talent.
The youth councils will begin their pitch presentations at 5:00 p.m. Watch it live on Facebook at facebook.com/AZFuture or https://www.facebook.com/azfuture/posts/10154401687358389 and cheer on HYAC from home.
The youth councils will compete for a grand prize of $750 to implement their civic engagement intervention. The second place prize is $500 and the third place is $250.
Projects will be evaluated based on innovation, impact, and implementation. The councils have until December 2016 to implement their projects with the seed money.
Mayor Nexsen is proud of the Havasu Youth Advisory Council and is happy with their selected project, but he knows they cannot do it alone.
“The pitch is the easy part. The hard work will be when they return to Lake Havasu City to implement their plans. They will need to partner with the community to help with their project. That’s what civic engagement is all about," Nexsen said. ``I have no doubt the students will achieve great results, because I know our community wants the same results and they will support them!”
For more information or to find out how you can support HYAC with this project, please contact the Mayor’s office at (928) 453-4152.