Local youth councils came together to meet with each other during a Youth Leadership Summit on May 7.
The event was started by the Arlington Youth Council and other youth councils from Marysville, Tulalip and Lake Stevens joined the event.
“At the beginning of the school year when our Youth Council term starts our Arlington Youth Council decided they wanted to do a youth summit,” said Olivia Grace Saenz, a member of the Arlington Youth Council and chairperson for the event.
The idea of a summit connecting the youth councils was something Saenz said she had been considering for a while.
“This is my fourth year working on the Arlington Youth Council. During my freshman year our mayor told us she wanted to do a youth summit,” said Saenz.
“Being able to execute that during my senior year is great,” she added.
Saenz said the event went well.
“We had an awesome turnout, actually a lot more than we were anticipating,” said Saenz. “I met a lot of people and learned a lot of things.”
A motivational speaker was brought in for the event and all of the other youth councils gave presentations during the event as well.
“We asked them to come up with a presentation that relates to leadership or youth,” said Saenz.
Some focused on practical challenges, such as interviewing skills.
“[The presenters] were able to get everyone up and moving and get everyone talking with each other,” said Saenz.
Others focused on communications, or were more issues based, such as a presentation on housing affordability.
“We had one presentation topic about suicide, which is always hard but it was very informative,” said Saenz.
Saenz said she hopes the summit becomes an annual event and helps bring more kids into the local youth councils.
“It really sets up a new dynamic for our surrounding communities. Nobody really knows about the youth councils and with having this and making it an annual thing will make more kids interested in the youth councils,” she said.
The council in Arlington is able to help young people connect to some of the city’s leadership.
“I’ve gotten to make really great connections with people in my city and community,” said Saenz. “It brings a youth opinion to the city. I have gotten to speak with the mayor on topics that affect me and my friends that she never would have thought about. I’ve gotten to bring my perspective to that."
Saenz said she is appreciative of everyone who contributed to making the event possible.
“I’m so proud of everyone that came and everyone who spoke,” she said. “And thankful to our adult advisors who helped out.”