County Creates New Youth Commission
Giving 20 young people public service experience and a chance to help shape youth-related policies.
The board passed legislation to create the commission in May, and the county executive signed it this week.
“We want them to lend their voices, we want them to be engaged,” Crowley said, at a signing event for the legislation Monday.
The commission will be composed of 20 high school age teenagers, with at least one member from each county supervisory district. It will also have five adult advisors to support the work of the commission. “This is an opportunity for them to have a voice in how we can better serve them,” the county executive said.
The youth commission was first created in 2002, but only ran for a brief period of time. In its new incarnation the commission will have a wider brief, reviewing program proposals from youth organizations, as well as policy and budget proposals that affect youth and the effectiveness of existing county youth programs. The commission will also have input into the take-a-child-to-work day, and opportunities to advise the county executive and chair of the county board.
But what the commission does with its expanded purview is entirely up to its members, Crowley said. “We want them to take the reins of this and really shape this themselves,” he said. The goal is for the commission to be youth led, he explained, with support from Milwaukee County staff.
Under the legislation signed by Crowley, the county will use an estimated $27,000 to provide the commission with the technical support it needs, and to pay the youth a $12.50-per-hour stipend for meetings.
For the other 18 members of the commission, the county will accept applications. Crowley said the application process will be up and running by the next school year, at which time the county will begin reaching out to schools and other community members to solicit applications from young people.
Crowley served on the first iteration of the youth commission when he was a teenager. He said in May that it was his first experience with public service. During his annual state of the county address, he announced that 2022 would be “The Year of the Youth.”
“Who knows,” he said, “maybe there will be a future county board supervisor, a committee chair, or chairwoman or the next county executive who will be amongst these members of the youth commission.”
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