August 6, 2018
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 27 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 1, 2018, the newly appointed members of the Youth Advisory Board attended their first meeting of the 2018-2019 term of office. City staff liaison Matt Reedy conducted the meeting and Sandy Sexton, Deputy City Clerk, assisted the members through the swearing-in process. Lt. Governor Randy McNally and City Council Member Jim Dodson also attended the meeting to wish the students well on a new year.
YAB member and Oak Ridge High School Senior Audrey Bufton was elected as YAB Chairwoman. In other elections, senior member Jasleen Narula was elected as Vice-Chair, senior Alexis Hammond was elected as Treasurer, and senior Alexis Palau was elected Secretary.
The YAB discussed the continued support of its most popular events including Graduation Celebration, City Halloween Party, Breakfast with Santa, and annual Dodgeball Tournaments, while adding in new goals for the year based on student surveys and ideas from new members. Oak Ridge Public Library Director Julie Forkner proposed a YAB-Library partnership to create a space for teens on Wednesday afternoons at the library. At the planned meeting on Wednesday, August 15, YAB members will discuss these issues and set annual goals.
“To host Lt. Governor Randy McNally and City Councilman Jim Dodson at the first meeting, while also seeing perfect attendance for a 16-member, teen board, I’d say we had a very successful start to the 2018-2019 YAB term,” staff liaison Matt Reedy said. “The work is just beginning because the next meeting will be a long and difficult discussion for these students as they narrow down their list of goals for the year.”
When asked about what YAB means to them, Caroline Webb, a YAB member serving her first term of office, stated “YAB is an opportunity to make a difference and to share the opinions of my classmates. I want to bring life to the youth community and make things happen.” New member Nick Dallas stated that “YAB is a place where kids have a voice.” Member Mark Humphries said that “YAB is a great way to have a voice and to have a real impact on the community.” Returning for her second term, YAB member Maggie Froning said “YAB is not only an opportunity to better my leadership skills, speak in a group, and feel like I play a role in my community, it also is a unique opportunity to share my skills in a way that can help others.” New member Jessie Pitz thinks that “YAB is a way for students to implement their ideas on a city-wide level.”
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.