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Youth Council charting its course

Tim Mutrie

After months of planning and a lengthy application process, members of the Aspen Youth Council got down to business Wednesday night at City Hall during its very first meeting.

Modeled after youth councils in other cities around the country, the Aspen Youth Council members resolved Wednesday to make a difference in the community by advocating for young people in the upper Roaring Fork Valley.

“This is serious,” said council member Colin Norman, a junior at Aspen High School. “I’d like the adults in the community to know we mean business.”

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting were a few adults who served on the selection committee to choose the 17-member council from more than 40 applicants.

“From this moment forward, this whole thing is up to you,” said John Sarpa, a selection committee member. “It’s up to you as a group to decide what you’ll do.”

City of Aspen community relations/ communications director Gervaise Dupree, who has been the driving adult force behind the council, also stressed, “Do what you want. It’s your council.”

Aspen City Council members Tom McCabe and Tony Hershey sat in on the meeting, offering advice here and there based on their experiences. Also on hand was City Attorney John Worcester, who advised the council about quorums, motions, resolutions, ordinances and other aspects of parliamentary procedure and meeting governance.

Fifteen members of the council were in attendance Wednesday, in a meeting that revolved largely around establishing the fundamental premises of the organization.

AHS junior Tiffany Stone was elected president of the council; junior R.A. Beattie was elected vice president; sophomore Leigh Ethridge was elected secretary; and junior Chris Luu was elected treasurer.

“I think we need to establish some checks and balances for everything,” said Luu during discussions. “So in case somebody goes corrupt,” he joked.

Business enacted Wednesday by the council included a plan to distribute several hundred surveys – concerning what qualities Aspen’s next police chief should possess, to be returned to the official selection committee – to their student constituents. Additionally, the council agreed to pursue an invitation from the Given Institute to co-sponsor an upcoming panel about substance abuse.

The council also discussed an early April trip to Boulder, when members will spend a day observing and interacting with a well-established youth council there.

The next meeting of the Aspen Youth Council is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 from 6 to 9 p.m., at City Hall.


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