MILTON — After a brief hiatus to revamp the organization, the city of Milton announced this week that would be re-launching the Milton Youth Council.

The organization, according to Assistant City Planner Amanda Rice, is designed to give the youth of Milton the opportunity to make recommendations to City Council on issues related to youth interests as well as advocate for particular development projects on behalf of local youth.

Some of the projects Rice had in mind for the youth council included a community rain gardens and pop up parks. She said the goal is that all projects the council would be involved in would have "lasting impacts" on the community. Rice said she also wanted the council to partake in statewide competitions including a municipal youth council video competition.

"We want to develop their social skills and professional skills," Rice said.

Rice said for those young people who might be interested in running for a public office in the future, this council would be a great opportunity. She said participants of the council will be given the opportunity to see what it is like to be in a public office and performing in the role of public service. While the council would be composed of a select number of individuals, Rice said all the community's youth would be welcomed and encouraged to participate in the community projects. 

Currently, the program will be limited to students in eighth to 12th grade who live in the city limits and attend public schools, including home schools. Rice said they are looking into some alternative school settings.

"We want to keep the (program to) students who are in the city limits," she said. "Just so that they have a little more ownership of the program."

City Planner Jenny Cook said keeping the program boundary within the city limits would also help to foster the participants social networks.

"It's Hard when they go to different schools," Cook said. "In the past the council has had different schools, but we want it to be when they leave the meetings they still had the opportunity to meet with each other on their own terms. So this will really develop that social local network." 

Although the youth council is separate from the regular City Council, Cook said they will be able to bring topics to the council that they feel is important. Cook said the youth council would meet every fourth Thursday of the month, directly before the City Council meetings.

"We would encourage students to stay for the council meetings," Cook said.

She said the youth council would alternate their meetings between a round tabled meeting in a meeting room to actually meeting in the council chambers so that they would be getting exposure to that type of environment. 

The application process will run through Aug. 30. Any student interested in applying should contact the Milton Planning Department at 850-983-5440 or email arice@miltonfl.org. You can also go to https://forms.gle/nRLvTTQPCPUjLiGY7 to apply.