The City of Oak Ridge’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB), created in 1991, serves as a liaison between City Council and the youth of the community. In the 26 years since its inception, the YAB has offered input on City issues and provided activities and programs that enhance the lives of young people in Oak Ridge.
On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, the newly appointed members of the Youth Advisory Board attended their first meeting of the 2017-2018 term of office. City staff liaison Matt Reedy conducted the meeting and Sandy Sexton of the City Clerk’s office assisted the members through the swearing-in process. City Councilman Jim Dodson, who currently serves on the YAB Application Screening Panel, also attended the meeting to wish the students well on a new year.
YAB member and Oak Ridge High School Senior Candace Pang was elected as YAB Chairwoman. In other elections, senior member Jas Jakowski was elected as Vice-Chair, senior Hannah Oran and Junior Alexis Hammond were elected as Co-Treasurers, and senior Alison Craig was elected Secretary.
At the YAB meeting on Wednesday, August 16, members set annual goals after two hours of discussion. The YAB voted to continue some of its most popular events, including Graduation Celebration, Water Awareness, Field Day, and Dodgeball Tournaments, while adding in new activities like a movie night in the park and a music competition for teens. Students also voted to bring back the popular Breakfast with Santa event, scheduling it for Saturday, December 2, 2017, at the Civic Center.
“The discussion on goals is the most important discussion that we will have during the year,” staff liaison Matt Reedy said. “Each YAB member will be given a chance to share an idea or dream for Oak Ridge and each of them will accept leadership responsibilities for at least one program or event during the year. Board members will learn valuable skills through policy discussions, volunteering, event planning, and partnership building which will be a benefit to them throughout their lives.”
When asked about what YAB means to them, Alexis Palau, a YAB member serving her third term of office, stated “YAB is a group dedicated to providing safe events that improve the lives of youth in the community, while also providing leadership experiences for the members.” New member Chloe Bales stated that “YAB is a great organization to get kids involved in the community no matter what their background.”
YAB meetings are held twice per month on Wednesday afternoons at the Oak Ridge Civic Center and are open to the public. Board members serve a one-year term of office and must re-apply in the spring each year. If you have questions about the City YAB, contact Matt Reedy at (865) 425-3442 or visit the City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department website at www.orrecparks.org.