The Merritt Youth Advisory Committee has been officially formed, holding its first meeting on January 30.

At the meeting, members Marius Auer, Honey Grismer, Darian Krajci, Susanna Scholtens, and Beckett Finch were introduced and welcomed by Council. Co-chairs Auer and Grismer were elected, and the terms of reference for the committee were reviewed.

Council Member Adam Etchart, who serves on the committee to represent City Council, hopes the group will have a positive impact on the community.

“I am hopeful the group will come up with ideas to improve lives for youth in Merritt,” said Etchart.

The official purpose of the committee is:

1. To inform Council about important matters affecting youth;

2. To act as a positive advocate for youth and youth initiatives;

3. To proactively consider policies, strategies, and proposals which

the Committee believes could improve the lives of youth in Merritt;

4. To actively seek input from youth on matters delegated to the

Committee by Council;

5. To provide leadership experience for youth.

In addition to Councillor Etchart, the committee includes a School District #58 Trustee, a Committee Clerk, and city staff in a non-voting advisory capacity.

Both Etchart and Auer note that there are still two openings for youth members between the ages of 14 and 24, while five of the seven positions have been filled.

“Personally, I am excited to work with my fellow committee members to advocate for youth in this community and ensure that Council considers the views of youth,” said Auer. “I think this committee will be a force for positive change in Merritt, and I encourage any youth who are interested in joining to do so.”

It has taken some time to get the Youth Advisory Committee up and running. Originally brought up during Mayor Linda Brown’s term as Councillor, it was defeated at that time. During the election, Brown wanted to ensure that both the city’s youth and seniors would be more actively involved in community decisions that would affect them.

This campaign promise has spurred the creation of both the Youth Advisory Committee, and the Age-Friendly and Accessibility Advisory Committee, which was approved at the end of January.