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