Unlocking the Power of Youth: A Checklist for Local and Regional Governments (ICLEI, 2023) shares insights about how to recognize and harness youth's potential in their efforts to achieve ambitious climate targets through local action. ICLEI's comprehensive checklist serves as a practical and effective tool for governments to: engage effectively with young individuals, understand their interests and experiences, and harness their unique perspectives to drive collective climate action.
The Youth Engagement Playbook for Cities: How to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration with youth(C40, 2021) aims to help cities around the world to strengthen meaningful youth engagement in their climate action. The Playbook outlines eight key considerations: 1. Let young people lead the way, 2. Be inclusive and equitable, 3. Use social media and digital tools to aid engagement, 4. Partner with organizations, 5. Understand where young people are at, 6. Engage youth people as meaningfully as you would other stakeholders, 7. Empower youth people to be involved in city processes that are not just ‘youth-focused’, 8. Provide opportunities for youth leadership development.
Cities interested in using a college student intern to assist with one or more tasks (i.e. joining the GreenStep program, creating a green team, reporting on GreenStep actions completed, and working on new actions, etc.) should approach their local educational institution and use the GreenStep Intern Manual.
Cities that need help in connecting with a local post-secondary school should contact their regional CERTs coordinator. Some cities have worked with a local high school, whose students often can assist a city under a school-required service learning agreement.
Youth and Young Adult training and service opportunities available in Minnesota:
MN GreenCorps (AmeriCorps) - recent college graduates serve with communities and nonprofits to increase resiliency to climate change.
Conservation Corps MN/IA (AmeriCorps) - youth and young adults grow as environmental stewards and leaders while giving back to the community through meaningful service.
Emerging Environmental Leaders - cohort based program connecting young adults in Minnesota with state agency leaders on Minnesota’s most pressing environmental issues.
Student involvement in Youth in City Government Day; student group engaged with city on a project; student/intern help with GreenStep action entry. Report city staff efforts to support schools/youth to improve their own schools under BPA 24.4.
Student involvement in a city green committee/commission; separate youth/student committee or commission (note to what extent it focuses on sustainability issues); high school student internships offered in city government; formal city volunteer program focused on youth; create a professional development and/or mentorship program.
3 or more youth/students of varying backgrounds involved in a campaign working directly with your city council; 2 or more dedicated youth positions on a city environmental commission; ongoing connection between a high school environmental club and city commission that has youth positions; regular student interns to work on sustainability issues.
Who's doing it
Duluth - 3 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2019
The newly created Energy Plan Commission has two college students as sitting members. The commission will help create policies to guide the city towards its goal of an 80% GHG reduction by 2050.
Year action initially completed: 2018 for youth commissioners, since before 2000 for interns
Golden Valley has provided a variety of ways for youth and college students to participate in city government through internships and positions on city commissions.
Committees with a youth position include: Board of Zoning Appeals, Environmental Commission (1 youth position currently, request for 2nd position going to council in December 2021), Human Rights Commission (2 youth positions), Human Services Commission, Open Space and Recreation Commission, and Planning Commission.
City internship positions in 2021 include: Information Technology Intern (IT department), Engineering Intern (engineering department), Water Resources Intern (engineering department), Community Development Intern (planning department), Public Works Intern (public works department), Parks and Recreation Intern (parks & recreation department), and Community Health Worker Intern (police department).
Local youth involved with iMatter were instrumental in creating a Climate Inheritance Resolution, which was passed unanimously by the Grand Marais City Council in February of 2017. This action directly lead to the creation of a Climate Action Plan Coordinator. The iMatter youth were active on the Climate Action Plan Committee, which shaped the Climate Action Plan. The Plan was adopted by the Grand Marais City Council in June of 2019.
The city's Environmental Quality Commission has two student members (High School age), one of which is a voting member. The EQC meets monthly and advises the City Council on policy etc. that affect the environment.
In November 2021 the city updated city code to add seats on commissions that are dedicated to emerging leaders.
We currently and historically have had limited representation from 18-24-year-olds on the city’s commissions. We have partnered with Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth’s Youth OnBoard! initiative to recruit young adults to apply for the city’s commissions. Brooklyn Bridge Alliance for Youth (BBAY) will provide training for the emerging leaders as well as readiness training for commissioners.
Detroit Lakes Public Utilities works with the local school system on a variety of efforts; including, reading books to young students pertaining to electrical safety, what it is like to be a tree trimmer and lineman, scholarship opportunities for seniors and an apprenticeship for a student going to school to become a lineman. The City also offers summer internships.
Eighth graders at Dilworth Glyndon Felton Middle School participated in city government by helping to create a curbside recycling program. The students gave a presentation to Dilworth City Council about recycling and were involved in a city-wide information campaign that informed residents about the new program. The curbside recycling program started in October 2019 and seeks to increase recycling by allowing residents the option of recycling from their homes instead of going to the recycling center.
Much of the work on the Green Step City Program has been accomplished through an Intern from Metropolitan State University, especially in the areas of B3 and solar/renewable energy options. we hope to continue to use this approach for this program
The City of Faribault has recurring students from Faribault High School participating on its Environmental Commission. These are not sworn-in council members and they participate on a voluntary basis. Faribault will also most likely have other youth participants on both the Environmental Commission and the Energy Action Plan 2023 update core team in the Spring-Summer.
We currently have high school/college students on our Parks Commission who review our sustainability practices and make recommendations from a 'next generation' viewpoint. They also aid in finding new modes of communication which we can circulate parks and amenity surveys/questionnaires to help us reach the younger generations in Lake Elmo.
The city offers internship opportunities for students to engage with local government. The planning intern works on entering Greenstep actions and assessing action steps that are attainable with a few minor tweaks/changes to our current processes.
To create opportunities for next generation participation, the City of New Prague actively seeks a youth participant to be part of the Park Board each year. While not a voting member, this participant is expected to engage in the conversations at each meeting and their perspective is considered.
The Youth Commission's agenda is driven by the commissioners, but an example of a sustainability issue that the commission worked on was the legacy tree program that involved planting trees in the community.
The City does not have an green committee/commission however the Planning Commission works on many related green goals through the adopted Comprehensive Plan. The City has a student liaison on the Planning Commission. Although the student cannot officially vote their input and comments bring a unique perspective and is highly valued by the Commission. The liaison essentially represents the youth in our community.
The City of Savage accepts junior and senior high school students living in Savage, who are interested in learning more about local government and serving on one of four City Commissions. Students serve a one year term. Applicants are interviewed and appointed by the Savage City Council.
The city added a youth position on the city recycling committee. This position is filled by a volunteer high school student to represent youth in talks about how to improve recycling participation and effectiveness in the city.
The South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task force is made up of students in grades 5-12. The group has increased participation in the city’s annual food drive, provided fun events for other children in the community (ie. A pool party, annual water balloon fight), and promoted community education on various topics, including sustainability.
Youth in Government Day is a program designed to give youth in the community an opportunity to learn about city government, explore city buildings, interact with city staff, engage with elected officials and participate in a City Council Meeting. Youth in Government Day is also an opportunity for city staff in leadership positions and elected officials to discuss issues facing today’s youth and hear the youth voice regarding current policies and items the city is addressing. Brooklyn Center Youth in Government Day started 2015. The last few years the Youth in Government Day covered the following topics; 2019: Opportunity Site, 2018: T-21 (age to purchase tobacco) and 2017: Public Safety and Substance Abuse.
Students from the Crosslake Community School were encouraged to write an essay entitled "If I Were Mayor for a Day". The students were invited to the monthly city council meeting where they read their essay and were presented with Friends of the City certificates. November 2017-January 2018.
The elementary school in town comes to city hall once a year to allow the 4th grade class to vote on a high emotion issue. Some students are council members and some are upset citizens. This allows them to see how the city government works in action. After the mock public hearing they take a vote on allowing the apple orchard to be demolished to build a strip mall. The kids really get into it while they are learning.
Our comprehensive plan also directly addresses the interest in educating our school children about local government. It is planned to do more interactive and educational events like the one listed above while continuing the several events we host at city hall.