The City of Boca Raton’s Community Advisory Panel Youth Subcommittee was one of the five city youth councils to win the 2019 Municipal Youth Council Community Service Contest, sponsored by the Florida League of Cities. This statewide community service contest showcases community service projects performed by municipal youth councils that successfully address specific needs in their local communities.
The Youth Subcommittee was established by the Community Advisory Panel (CAP), a board created by the Boca Raton City Council. The CAP provides a public forum for residents to express their concerns and initiatives regarding the quality of life issues in Boca Raton. Several of the Council-appointed panel members are high school and college students who advocated to start a Youth Subcommittee of the panel. The subcommittee focuses on youth concerns and initiatives and invites local students to participate in regular meetings. They also encourage student participation in local government activities.
The Youth Subcommittee was recognized by the Florida League of Cities for the LEAD Green Community Service project (Local youth, Environmental leaders, Action-oriented, Dedicated to sustainability). This new initiative empowers and encourages young volunteer groups from different schools to collaborate. As a result, several environmental projects such as planting trees, nature trail rehabilitation and beach cleanups have been completed. The goal of LEAD is to preserve the environment for future generations, to make positive contributions to the City, and provide awareness to the residents.
The Youth Subcommittee focused on beach cleanups as part of the community service award. With five miles of beaches, Boca Raton is home to the renowned sea turtle rehabilitation facility, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Keeping local beaches clean and free of plastic was recognized by the Youth Subcommittee as an issue that affected the oceans and local ecosystems. The Subcommittee scheduled several beach cleanups throughout the year and educated volunteers to find the tiny pieces of plastic that cause harm to sea life in and around the oceans and city beaches. Because of Boca Raton’s coastal location, LEAD participants spent time outside, working next to each other with a common purpose. Over 30 beach cleanups resulted in the collection of over 200 pounds of trash.
In addition to beach cleanups, the Youth Subcommittee planted over 30 trees around the community, cleaned and restored one of Boca Raton’s most historic nature trails and had over 300 student volunteers assist in various projects. Community service efforts by members of the Youth Subcommittee were recognized by the Mayor and City Council in a proclamation naming March 2019 as Youth Citizenry Month.
Other municipal youth council winners include City of Haines City Youth Advisory Council, City of Homestead Mayor’s Youth Council, City of West Palm Beach Mayor’s Youth Council and City of West Park Youth Council.
Contest winners will receive a trophy, be recognized at the League’s Annual Conference, be featured in the League’s statewide publication, Quality Cities (QC) magazine, and have their projects featured on the League’s websites and social media accounts. For information on the winning projects, visit Florida League of Cities. View the Youth Subcommittee’s submission video.