Letter: Youth commission makes progress | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Youth commission makes progress

Dear friends and community members,

The Aspen Next Generation Advisory Commission, the newest commission of the city of Aspen, has been sending out monthly progress updates to community leaders for several months. We think it is appropriate to begin posting these letters publicly for your benefit and input.

We are currently working on three primary issues: 1) The structure and guidelines of the affordable-housing program. 2) A mentorship program that serves as a virtual incubator and strengthens community ties by pairing entrepreneurs and other creatives in time-limited, goal-oriented engagements with our valley plethora of top talent to increase vitality and diversity. 3) An effort to increase civic participation, open dialogue and voter turnout across all demographics in the community. Enjoy, and always feel free to reach out to us directly with thoughts, comments, feedback or advice at http://www.aspennextgen.com or aspennextgen@gmail.com.

Our month of January:

On housing, we met with Ward Hanuenstein; met with Mike Kosdrosky, Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority director, to work toward future initiatives and policies; met with Joe Coffee on Snowmass Village housing policy and "regional housing" potential; and worked on the capital reserve issue.

On the Create Mentorship Program, we held a Rotary recruitment event; spoke at the Aspen Business Luncheon with partners Aspen Entrepreneurs Meet Ups, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and the Aspen Power Plant and recruited mentors; finalized 21 official partner relationships; recruited more than 60 mentors and more than 80 participants for initial launch; updated our website at http://www.aspenmentorship.org and our social-media presence; finished final paperwork and procedures required to receive city of Aspen and Rotary funds; and finalized our board of directors with members with broad community representation.

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On get-out-the-vote efforts, we met with stakeholders and reviewed a prioritized roadmap of methods; got commitments from stakeholders on their appetite for action and time commitment; received commitments from the valley's biggest employers on voter-registration efforts; refined our roadmap based on input from the community; surveyed the demographic to determine reasons for non-participation; studied historical data for voting trends for lack of participation across the community; and planned an event at Aspen High School to determine how we can better set up our youth for better civic engagement success and inclusion.

What we are expecting February:

On housing, we will attend a Feb. 2 meeting with the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners and Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority; meet with Chris Everson; and review final Housing Authority survey results and move forward together.

On the Create Mentorship Program, we will receive operating funds; launch a cloud-based management program; launch official operations; launch a marketing effort with partners; hold a program kickoff event Feb. 25 exclusively for mentees; hold a kickoff and sign-up event with Aspen Skiing Co., the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and others; and hire one or two interns.

On get-out-the-vote efforts, we will host a Jan. 27 event at Aspen High School; reach out to stakeholders to set up and host listening and sign-up events; catalog human capital from events and reasses our roadmap to its final form; and present a final action plan to the commission at our February meeting.

Thank you all for your continued commitment to our community.

Skippy Mesirow and Christine Benedetti

Aspen Next Generation Advisory Commission

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