Pali Teen Council Tackles Local Issues

Joey Chae, Staff Writer

Earlier this year, the Palisades-Malibu YMCA created the Palisades Teen Council as a way for students to take leadership positions and become involved in politics and local issues. 

“It gives students a safe space to voice their opinions and allows them to make a difference in their community,” said Pali sophomore and member of Teen Council, Trey Buck. 

Members of Teen Council went on a three-day, team-building retreat to Big Bear beginning Friday, Nov. 1. During the retreat, students participated in bonding activities and identified an area of concern they wanted to focus on. 

“The group bonding activities strengthened our relationships with everyone and allowed us to work well together,” said sophomore Alex Denham. 

Throughout the year, Teen Council has weekly meetings. During each meeting, senior Sharla Steinman, the group’s chair, introduces the topics and tasks on the council’s agenda for that day. Students then move into task groups where they work with a small group of people to expand on their ideas for their projects. The areas of focus include issues pertaining to the environment, health and wellness, and finance. 

According to the YMCA website, council members are taught how to “assess the needs of a community and develop action plans based on their interests and the functionality to society.” Students are currently working on developing these action plans with their council committees. The end goal is to present these projects to state officials in Sacramento using the skills acquired during their time in Teen Council. 

Teen Council will travel to Sacramento in March 2020. While there, members will act as lobbyists and discuss their plans and projects with state officials. 

The council consists of about 50 members and meets on Tuesdays in Gilbert Hall from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Registration is closed for this year’s Palisades Teen Council, but all high school students are encouraged to apply for the program in the years to come.