UN declares today International Youth Day

By Sarah Glenn
For the Journal

Across the globe today, young people are picking up trash, writing their elected representatives and helping with community projects as the United Nations promotes its 16th annual International Youth Day.

“In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in this year’s Secretary-General’s Message. “At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world.”

The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is “Youth Civic Engagement.” Thousands of events across the globe have been organized by youth groups to better their communities.

Here is a Google Map showing you all the thousands of activities taking place across the world. 

In Vancouver, British Columbia, youth are gathering together for a day of inclusion and games. In Irvine, Calif. a group of youth will be preforming random acts of kindness throughout their communities. They will be donating items and time to local youth shelters and providing strangers with compliments throughout the day. You can follow their random acts of kindness (along with others) on Twitter with the hashtag #YouthDay.

While Southeastern Idaho does not have any official events planned to commemorate the day, the Pocatello/Chubbuck Mayors’ Youth Advisory Council is currently looking for about 26 volunteers from various area high schools.

“The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council is a way for local youth to have their voice heard and effect real change,” said Logan McDougall, public information officer for the City of Pocatello. “It is a chance to develop some great leadership skills.”

This 36-member council is a volunteer advisory board made up of local students in grades 9 through 12 with no more than 40 percent of the members from any one high school. The Youth Council is designed as a way for youth to express their views and to encourage civic pride. The council also advises the Pocatello and Chubbuck Mayors and City Councils on issues of importance to youth in our area and receives training opportunities and learning experiences regarding matters of governance.

“For kids, they get their voice heard,” McDougall said. “Elected leaders take their advice and it is used to help everyone in the community.”

Meetings are held the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 3:15 p.m. in the Pocatello City Council Chambers, 911 North 7th Avenue.

Members of the Youth Council serve from their appointment date until they graduate from high school. Any student interested in becoming a member can obtain an application at the Pocatello Mayor’s Office at 911 North 7th Avenue, Chubbuck Mayor’s Office at 5160 Yellowstone Avenue or at http://pocatello.us/committees/mayors-youth-advisory/. Applications for membership must be received by Tuesday.

To see a full list of International Youth Day activities, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/youthday and click on “events.”

You can also follow the good things people are doing in communities across the world by following the hashtags #YouthDay and #YouthNow.

For the month of August, each day the United Nations will share a photo and story of a young person driving change in their community. Check out the album here.

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