South Jordan Youth City Council Going Strong
By Nephi Christensen | South Jordan Youth City Council Mayor
Even though COVID-19 shut down many programs this past year, the young men and women of the South Jordan Youth City Council refused to let their program die. According to Youth Mayor, Nephi Christensen, “This year was definitely different, but I enjoyed the challenge of planning activities and services including the Zoom Christmas meeting for the rest of my council. We usually have a party and a huge service project, but since we were unable to meet in person, we had to get really creative.”
Ultimately, the SJYCC decided to put together kits that each member could assemble at home. These gift bags included treats, hand-made decorations, and individually written cards that we were given to senior citizens during their lunch pickup. A holiday treat was given with the supplies to each council member in lieu of an in-person party. According to Christensen, “My grandpa lives with us, so we got to see first-hand his excitement and joy at receiving an unexpected gift from the SJYCC.”
This year’s SJYCC has overcome other challenges as well. Their long-time mentor and leader retired, leaving them with a new advisor. Rather than meeting twice a month in person, online meetings became the norm. Typically, the council is sworn in by the South Jordan Mayor; this year was the first ever induction ceremony via Zoom. Fortunately, biweekly meetings where members learn about their local government from South Jordan City officials remained constant over Zoom.
Service opportunities were extremely limited. The new SJYCC director, Emily Stephens, instructed members, “ Some things that will be different this year revolve around the COVID restriction. We will need to think outside of the box on our service projects. It will still be exciting and fun. ”
Christensen attended nearly every in-person service, overseeing the council members and keeping track of everyone’s service hours. Some fall service activities were held outdoors, with masks and social distancing. This worked well for SOJO soccer and the city’s Pumpkin Promenade.
Cold weather forced change and the most recent service project started with everyone on Zoom, cutting out paper hearts. Each member chose a neighbor, loved one, or friend and then “heart-attacked” their door. According to Christensen, “We are currently working on planning our spring service projects, and we are planning to help with events like Summerfest and the Easter egg hunt, no matter what form they take. The SJYCC is sure to continue, and the creative ideas and endurance developed this year will definitely strengthen us all in years to come.”