Members of the Federal Way Youth Commission at a recent “Racing into Reading” event. Courtesy photo

Members of the Federal Way Youth Commission at a recent “Racing into Reading” event. Courtesy photo

Youth commission gives Federal Way teens a voice

Applications are open for several positions in this student-led group.

By Emmy Sandstedt, For the Mirror

The Federal Way Youth Commission (FWYC) gives local high school students in their sophomore and junior years a chance to become involved in the city and make an impact in their community.

Commissioners are generally appointed for two years and spend time working with the city to plan and execute events that impact the youth of Federal Way. There are 12 positions on the commission, with two additional alternates. Four of these positions are currently filled, and applications are open for the remaining spaces.

This year, David Clemons and Kim Ledyard have taken over as facilitators of the FWYC. These Federal Way Community Center staff have made it their mission to help the youth commission next year and become even stronger than before.

Interest has waxed and waned, Clemons and Ledyard agreed. In the past, most people who have applied were appointed. They both hope that this year, and in the future, there will be more interest in the commission.

Open-mindedness, being community oriented and having a willingness to be part of a team are important qualities for those wanting to join the commission. Both Clemons and Ledyard also want to see people who want to work together to do something amazing.

After a long hiatus, the FWYC returned in 2014. Both Clemons and Ledyard feel strongly about the commission, and have felt a drive to become more involved. They want to make sure the FWYC is a strong part of this city and that youth are given a voice about what happens in Federal Way.

Clemons and Ledyard emphasized that, despite their involvement as city liaisons, the youth commission is a student-led group.

“We are very open to where they want to take it,” Clemons said.

Clemons and Ledyard help facilitate the desires of the commissioners, acting as advisors on city regulations and helping students learn about city government as they work to leave their mark on their city.

“I really respond to these kids who want to do something bigger than themselves, and I love the excitement that I’ve seen, I love the ideas that they bring to the table,” Clemons said. “I really respond to their willingness to work for a greater good.”

The commission has formed a partnerhip with the King County Library System (KCLS) to host local events. The “Racing into Reading” and “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” events were co-coordinated by the FWYC and KCLS, with a goal to “get [kids] more active in that kind of literature, and excited in literature.”

“They thought of it, they produced it, they created it and brought it to fruition from A to Z,” Clemons said of the students.

Other recent FWYC activities included a partnership with a local organization, Federal Way Cares, to bring toys and other gifts to people in need during the holiday season. The FWYC raised money alongside local businesses to purchase gifts for this event.

Learn more

To learn more, contact David Clemons at david.clemons@cityoffederalway.com and 253-835-6949 or Kim Ledyard at kim.ledyard@cityoffederalway.com and 253-835-6934.

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