Developing Future Leaders

The Youth Council started in 2001 with the notion that young people care about others and their community and they would like to have a voice in the issues, challenges and opportunities they face both now and in the future.  

The Council is made up of three WHS juniors and three WHS seniors. Members apply for a 2-year position on the Council. Youth Council members learn about nonprofit organizations in our community, learn leadership skills, become involved in philanthropy and make a difference.

Since starting in 2001 more than 60 students have been involved. Members currently are:
Seniors:
Amber Block, Abby Carlson, Joey Noeldner
Juniors:
Macy Vogt, Emma Koch

SWOT Analysis

The Youth Council members held their first meeting this fall via Zoom and conducted their annual SWOT Analysis.

Strengths:

  • Extracurricular activities: Sports,Clubs
  • Many individuals/groups/organizations willing to help youth
  • Growing community allows for more opportunities
  • Employment opportunities for youth

Weaknesses:

  • On-line learning, construction at the High School, lack of activities due to COVID make it hard for youth to establish a routine
  • Availability and amount of time spent on technology instead of being more physically active
  • Hard to let younger people know what’s going on so that they can be involved; for those not involved there is a lack of inexpensive activities

Opportunities:

  • Good school system
  • Really good sports programs both Club and school.  Youth may start playing young and continue through High School
  • Watertown has great parks and all youth have access in their neighborhoods

Threats:

  • COVID affects everything.  Easier for High School students to learn on-line than for grade school students
  • Use of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and vaping
  • Youth being harassed by inappropriate behavior

The students and staff will use this information when inviting guest speakers to meetings, when they are reviewing grant applications and awarding grants.  

Helping the Youth Serving Organizations of Watertown

Since starting, more than $140,000 has been awarded by the Youth Council to youth serving organizations in Watertown.  

2020 grants awarded in the spring were:

  • Beacon Center: $803 for educational toys for the family rooms and indoor playgrounds
  • Boys & Girls Club: $1,150 to support the addition of a Maker's space area within the Club’s Teen Center
  • East-Central CASA: $470 to support the purchase, design, and printing of brochures & information cards
  • Habitat for Humanity: $1,750 to purchase safety supplies such as safety hats, gloves, glasses and ear plugs
  • Lake Area Child Protection Team: $288 to support the Foster Parent Appreciation dinner for foster children and families
  • Special Olympics of Watertown Area: $2,000 to support bowling practice costs. (shoe rental, lane rental and equipment rental)
  • Camp Chance: $900 to purchase art bottles and colored sand for a craft activity at Camp Chance.

The Youth Council is funded and overseen by the WACF. For many years the Council has been given $7,500 by the WACF for its grant making. Due to the Youth Council’s great work, the board recently raised that amount to $10,000.