WOODLAND – There is a saying in politics that wise leaders gather young people around you because youth doesn’t know it can’t be done.
The village of Woodland has formed a Mayor’s Youth Council that recently attended the Mississippi Municipal League Statewide Youth Leadership Summit held March 1-2 in Hattiesburg and has returned home looking for community service projects.
“We went down there not really knowing what to expect and our kids did a lot of listening,” said Woodland Mayor Patti Watkins. “But on the ride back home I got to listen to them talk about what they had seen and what they wanted to do in Woodland.”
Watkins said nothing has been finalized but the youth council will work the Woodland Easter Egg Hunt March 3 and wants the community’s input on projects they might tackle.
Members of the Woodland Mayor’s Youth Council are Alaina Hill, Heather Jackson, Javonta McIntosh, Taylor Snider and Jermaine White.
Over 400 young people representing 35 towns around the state attended the summit at the Thad Cochran Center on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
Delegates attended a number of seminars ranging from how to urge youth to not text and drive to college preparation for high school students and how to network with other youth on service projects and community events.
The event was open to kids in grades 9-12 who had been invited to the summit by a member of the Mississippi Municipal League in good standings.
The summit also stressed leadership and communication skills.
“It was great to watch some really bright kids from around the state put their heads together,” said Watkins. “I was pleased to watch our kids pick up on what was going on and figure out they could do this, too.”
Watkins said the Woodland Mayor’s Youth Council will run their own meetings and will soon elect their own leaders.
Watkins said both Tupelo and Starkville have established youth councils and the Woodland group would probably look at how they are organized and projects they are involved in.
“The kids on our council go to school in Houston, Hebron, East Webster and Houlka but they are all from Woodland,” said Watkins. “They really are a bright bunch of kids and there is no doubt the are going to make something happen.”
The Mississippi Municipal League represents 289 cities and town in the state and is the lobbying and legal arm before state and national government and their agencies.