McNary High School rising senior Anne Farris recently completed her term as Keizer's youth councilor.
Keizer prides itself on volunteerism, no where is it more evident than in the City Council. Apart from the councilors who volunteer their time after work, there are several opportunities for students to serve on city committees as well.
The 2018-2019 youth councilor was Anne Farris, who was a junior at McNary High School at the time. Farris was responsible for connecting and checking in with the liaisons and pages to other committees and making regular reports to the city council at its meetings.
“For a typical meeting, I had to arrive on time,” she said.“I also had to bring with me information that I compiled about what’s going on with the school: are there certain events that are going around that are pertaining to the school or the community surrounding youth activities?” She also needed to be prepared to answer any questions the committee may ask.
At the end of her term she completed a survey where she recommended, “adding one more responsibility during the council meetings, so there is a spread out responsibility to be there not just watching till the end.”
Another improvement Farris recommended in her survey was to raise awareness of the program,
“The only place where I heard of the Youth Councilor and Liaison programs were from Councilor [Laura] Reid,” she said. She also recommended reaching out over social media.
She heard about the program through one of the teachers at McNary, who also happens to be a city councilor, Reid. At Reid’s suggestion, Farris looked into the program and applied.
“I looked into it and I thought well that would be a great thing for my resume and a great experience all together. I would recommend the program to a peer. It provides you a lot of opportunity,” Farris said, “Especially if they want to go into politics or local government or if they’re curious to see how local government is run.”
She said there have been several applicants for the 2019-2020 school year, but Farris herself decided not to reapply for the program so that she could focus on college and work during her senior year.
Even though Farris served on the council, government is not her passion, “Primarily I want to be an animator, which is a bit farther off the spectrum but I try to cover all my bases and explore all the possibilities I can get.”
Since Youth Councilors are encouraged, though not required, to attend other committee meetings it was not a huge surprise that she was drawn to the public arts committee.
“I did as much as I could with a busy schedule,” she said.
Farris thanked the council members who supported her and helped her learn and wishes her successor Chris Wolfert the best of luck.
Students interested in serving on city committees can apply to be a youth councilor, a youth liaison, or a page. The qualifications and workload of each position vary since all serve slightly different purposes. All of the terms begin in September and end in June.