Youth Leadership Council 2021
Our Okanogan Healthy Youth work continues, particularly with the highly engaging Youth Leadership Council (YLC), co-led by Room One staff Keri Moore and FYRE co-founder Mady Sandoval. Youth from all over Okanogan County reached out to us to apply for the 2021 class of the YLC. The YLC has been in operation since 2016, and works to create a safer community by bringing awareness to social, gender, LGBTQ+, racial and socioeconomic inequalities.
By elevating youth experience, expertise and voice, the YLC has worked to reduce unintended teen pregnancy by educating themselves and their community about positive youth development, reproductive healthcare and healthy relationships. Keri and Mady interviewed 10 new council members who will be joining the 5 returning members for the next year. We are thrilled to have so many new faces! New council members hail from Omak, Okanogan, Riverside, Twisp, Conconully, Malott and Tonasket. Council members also bring a wide breadth of experiences to this work: from growing up gender non-conforming, transgender or gay in a small town, to being a child of a teen parent, to being the child of immigrant parents, and many growing up in households who feel the struggle of just making it in a rural community.
In January, we hosted a YLC New Member Orientation, where incoming members learned about past YLC projects and initiatives, sexual health education (since many attend schools who do not currently teach it), and the rights youth hold when accessing reproductive and mental healthcare. After playing a few games, and myth-busting assumptions, one new member said, “I can’t believe we have all these rights, and no one ever told me.” YLC members left feeling excited about making friends and connections across our vast county and fired up with their new found knowledge and capacity to be a support and resource for their peers.
We can’t wait to see what this incredible group of young leaders does next.