North Salt Lake teens deliver service while learning leadership skillsJul 12, 2022 11:14AM ● By Peri Kinder
Residents of North Salt Lake have probably seen a group of teens wearing North Salt Lake shirts and showing up for city events. They pull weeds, hand out food for the Bountiful Food Pantry, organize the Easter egg hunt each year and man the water station during the 5K.
This dedicated group of volunteers is the NSL Youth City Council and they’ve been working behind the scenes to make the city an even better place to live, work and play. NSL City Councilmember Natalie Gordon serves as liaison to the YCC and said watching the teens doing service makes her proud.
“I love being able to see the youth do great things in the community and I love having other people see that as well,” she said. “There’s a lot of cynicism these days, but watching these kids serve really takes some of that cynicism away and lets me know we have hope for the future because they’re so great.”
Peyton Otis, 16, serves as the NSL YCC Mayor. She’s a junior at Bountiful High who has been on the council since eighth grade. Last year, she worked as the youth city manager. Peyton heads a seven-member youth leadership team on the council and helps organize events for more than two dozen YCC members.
“My sister did it a few years ago and she had so many good experiences and made so many good friends and had so many opportunities that I wanted to do it,” Peyton said. “We’re trying to get more involved in the community and work more with the city council, so we have legacy projects we want to work on and incorporate more service into what we’re doing with the food pantry and other organizations.”
On the third Thursday of each month, the NSL YCC works with the Bountiful Food Pantry to distribute food to those in need. They’ve worked with the refugee population in Salt Lake City and planted trees and picked up trash to keep the community clean.
During the annual kite festival, held a few weeks ago, the event’s organizer said she couldn’t have made it happen without the assistance of the YCC.
Even during COVID, the youth council continued to meet and plan service projects, taking care to wear masks and practice social distancing. They’re given the opportunity to see how things work in a city government and are informed about issues affecting their neighborhoods.
“It’s a great way to meet people and it will give you so many opportunities to help you grow and learn new things,” Peyton said. “It gives you service opportunities so you can see what’s going on in our community.”
“The leadership skills they develop during youth city council just makes them even more amazing,” said Gordon. “They make really great ambassadors for North Salt Lake.”λ