Fourteen students representing six high schools attended by teens from Cape Coral are going to get a unique hands-on lesson in civics beginning today.
Cape Coral City Council, in turn, is going to get input - hopefully a wealth of input - from a demographic not often represented at its regular meetings.
The newly created, newly appointed, Cape Coral Youth Council will meet for the first time at 2:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.
The advisory board's first agenda begins with some basics - indoctrination on how such panels are intended to operate and an orientation by the city attorney on Government in the Sunshine Laws - and then moves quickly into board business, which is expected to include the appointment of a chair and vice chair.
As with all Council-appointed, ordinance-created advisory boards, there will be public input time, minutes will be taken by the city clerk's office and the meeting will be televised and available online.
It's a great concept, and Council has given thought to its implementation:
The Youth Council will work with two adult advisors -former mayor, businessman and community leader Joe Mazurkiewicz and Cape Coral Youth Center/Skate Park Manager Mark Cagel - as well as with Councilmember Rick Williams, who will act as liaison between the advisory and city councils.
The new teen board, though, will function independently in terms of the ability to develop its own agenda and projects as well as formulate positions and recommendations to be presented to the City Council for possible action.
To that end, its 14 members will draw input from not only their respective schools and fellow students but from any interested youth in the city, bringing another collective voice forward.
Our thanks to the numerous students who submitted applications for Council consideration. We don't envy the task council members had of selecting from among those applicants to winnow the number of volunteers down to one junior and one senior per high school, plus two at-large.
Kudos, too, to Cape Coral Councilmember Williams for seeing this initiative though to fruition after he and former council member Derrick Donnell learned at a Florida League of Cities conference how such a board could benefit a community.
We share Councilmember Williams' view that input from across our community should be solicited - and embraced.
- Breeze editorial