City to develop youth recognition program

SOLANA BEACH — Youngsters who volunteer to serve Solana Beach will soon receive formal recognition from the city for their efforts.

A request from Councilman Mike Nichols to establish such a program moved forward with unanimous support at the Nov. 4 meeting.

Solana Beach has five commissions made up of citizen volunteers. Parks and Recreation has the only established youth program.

It can include up to six junior commissioners who are appointed by a majority of the adult members of the advisory group rather than City Council members.

The elementary, middle and high school students advise the commission on youth and teen services and programs, implement commission directives, attend and participate in monthly meetings and plan and help out during events such as the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, movie night and the egg hunt.

The junior commissioners provide “valuable experience as it relates to programs that serve the youth in the community,” Dan King, assistant city manager, said.

Youth members must apply for a position. They are appointed for one year and can serve no more than four consecutive terms.

Participants receive community service hours that are beneficial on college applications. City staff often writes letters of recommendation on request.

In the past some longtime junior commissioners have received a certificate but there is no formal recognition program to honor those “who have volunteered countless hours to participate in monthly meetings and research to recommend appropriate special events that would appeal to youth in the community,” the staff report states.

According to staff research other cities recognize youth volunteers in a variety of ways, from presenting them with certificates to hosting dinners, the latter of which primarily takes place in larger cities with established programs.

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