Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement through the Rochester-Olmsted County Youth Commission
9/3/2019 Mary Conboy Gorfine, Administration

Logo for Rochester-Olmsted County Youth Commission

​Walking through the Government Center cafeteria around 5 p.m. on the first Wednesday of any month, May through June, you cannot help but notice a large group of teens and adults gathered. The energy levels are high, and the excitement is contagious. These inspiring young people are members of the Rochester-Olmsted County Youth Commission, an intergenerational group of teens and adults and whose work is supported through a partnership between the City of Rochester and Olmsted County.

Purpose of the Rochester-Olmsted County Youth Commission

Youth Commissioners advocate for youth leadership and civic engagement in our community and have gone on to serve their communities locally and around the world in education, healthcare, business and government service. The Commission is a testament to the value our elected officials place in the capacity for youth to help shape a just and sustainable future.

Membership Information 

Membership is open to any high school student or interested adult who lives in or attends school in Olmsted County. Monthly meetings generally include a speaker on a topic of interest and most of their work is done in collaboration with other community or statewide groups.

The application process has been streamlined over the years to ensure a cross-section of individuals who bring a range of abilities, ethnicities, cultures, religions and points of view to the table.

Advocacy Work and Project Examples

The group works on advocacy for many ongoing topics such as mental health, homeless teens, job shadowing and renewable energy. Below is a sample of projects and activities the Rochester-Olmsted County Youth Commission has worked on over the last year:   

  • Distributed voter registration information in partnership with Olmsted County Property Records and Licensing 
  • Recruited teens to serve as Election Judges in partnership with the City Clerk’s Office 
  • Advocated for improved mental health support in our schools and participated on the Mayo Clinic Pediatric Mental Health Task Force
  • Hosted a Youth Climate Summit at Rochester Public Library and advocated for a 100% renewable energy plan in the City of Rochester
  • Created a video for Climate Smart Communities illustrating youth interest in renewable energy
  • And much, much more!


If you have any questions about the Rochester-Olmsted County Youth Commission, please contact Mary Conboy Gorfine at (507) 328-6001.