Salem institutes Youth in Governance Program

Residents who attend Town of Salem Committee meetings may soon see some new and younger faces on the boards. After a presentation by District 25 County Board Supervisor, Kim Bruenig Monday night, the Salem Town Board voted to implement the Youth in Governance Program.

The program creates youth empowerment within Kenosha County, through direct participation in local government and community service. The overall goal is to bring the youth voice to community issues and concerns while fostering the development of confident, independent and motivated youth leaders who will develop the self-confidence to be involved in their communities as adults.

While youth are encouraged to express input on various issues, their role is strictly on an advisory basis. Despite their non-voting role, the youth can and do have an impact in local government. Breunig recalled on high school student who, after hearing how the county ran out of road salt midway through the winter, suggested a mixture of sand and salt. To his surprise, county officials agreed.

“When he drives down the roads in the winter now, he knows why the truck is there, how many hours it took to fill the truck, salt the roads and how it impacts his parents’ tax bill,” said Bruenig,

The program requires high school juniors or senior applicants to have a GPA of 2.5 or greater, live in Kenosha County, and attend at least 50 percent of the monthly meetings from April through November.

In a unanimous vote Monday night, the Town Board agreed to include the Youth in Governance program and plan to begin by placing students on the Planning and Zoning and Park Commissions.

Applications will be available in local high schools, stated Bruenig, who agreed to work with Town Chairperson Diann Tesar on choosing student representatives.

“You will find that the students you get are very involved in their schools and have a strong interest in learning more about their community,” she said. “This program will also help the kids down the road as it is a positive activity to have listed in college applications.”


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