KALAMAZOO, MI — The city of Kalamazoo’s Parks and Recreation Department, Kzoo Parks, is seeking applicants to form a youth council that would help determine programs and activities offered for youth in the city.

The youth council will initially provide input to Kzoo Parks regarding programs, activities, parks and facilities, with the potential to expand to additional departments in the city. Serving on the council will provide members opportunities to network and make friends, develop leadership skills, learn about city government and share their voice in the future of youth development in Kalamazoo.

The youth council will initially include 13 positions for youth ages 13-18. Many aspects of the council will be determined by the youth members, including its name, how it will operate, meeting dates and times and the number of members. The council will meet monthly, and a $250 annual stipend will be paid to members who attend at least 75% of the meetings that year.

“Youth are the future of our city and their voices are important,” said Chad Wendt, Youth Development Coordinator for the city of Kalamazoo. “They will be leading our community soon and we owe it to them and to ourselves to ensure they have opportunities to develop strong leadership skills.”

Youth Council members will be selected by Kzoo Parks’ youth team to create a diverse group of youth representing different neighborhoods, interests and experiences. Applicants will be selected and notified within two weeks of the deadline. The council is expected to begin meeting in January 2021.

“Our most important goal at Kzoo Parks is to set our next generation of leaders up for success through exceptional programs and experiences,” said Director of Kzoo Parks Sean Fletcher. “We’re excited to elevate youth voices more directly in our planning and decision making to better serve the young people in our community.”

Applications can be completed online at www.kzooparks.org/youthcouncil. Paper copies of the application are available at the Kzoo Parks office (251 Mills St) or can be downloaded for print on the Kzoo Parks website.

Paper applications can be returned in person or by mail to the Kzoo Parks office, or a scan/picture of the application can be emailed to [email protected]. The deadline for applying is Friday, December 11 at 5 p.m.

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