Caldwell Mayor Helps Idaho Cities Support Youth and Families

Article excerpt

In 2006, Mayor Garret Nancolas of Caldwell, Idaho, made extraordinary efforts to galvanize municipal leadership on behalf of children, youth and families in his state.

The mayor played a leading role in regional forums and trainings held throughout Idaho to promote youth engagement and community involvement. Three of these trainings were sponsored by Idaho's Promise, an alliance between the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC), Serve Idaho--the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism and Idaho's Promise AmeriCorps Program--Idaho State 4-H.

As chair of AIC's new Youth Task Force and a member of NLC's Council on Youth, Education, and Families (YEF), Mayor Nancolas has assisted more than 10 cities in Idaho in developing Mayor's Youth Advisory Councils. The mayor has also been a vocal advocate for the use of NLC's City Platform for Strengthening Families and Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth as a road map for guiding and assessing local action.

Regional Trainings

Through a grant from the Governor's Generation of the Child Initiative, Idaho's Promise sponsored three seminars during the summer to provide attendees statewide with the tools and resources necessary to support and sustain youth engagement and participation in local decision-making. The trainings, held in Caldwell, Rexburg and Twin Falls, were designed for municipal officials, youth, faith, community and youth-serving organizations, and school district superintendents and teachers.

At the trainings, Mayor Nancolas used the NLC platform as well as a Mayor's Youth Advisory Council Toolkit developed by members of his youth council to provide more than 65 attendees from 20 cities across the state with a hands-on approach to creating youth councils and strengthening families.

The mayor discussed the "ABC's of Community Involvement," providing real-life case studies. The mayor also used a "Success Pyramid" that he developed to show how youth can transition from being involved solely in community service to becoming fully engaged in the decision-making process in order to help solve local problems or address community issues.

"There is nothing more important that we can do as elected officials than to engage the youth of our community and invite them to be a part of the decision-making process," said Mayor Nancolas.

"Whoever said that these youth are tomorrow's leaders, in all due respect, was wrong. These youth are today's leaders. I am so energized and inspired by their commitment to building a bright future for themselves and their families. …