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Sandy City Youth Council mayors will bring members to a year of leadership, service

Oct 02, 2017 11:42AM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Sandy City Youth Council mayors are sworn in Sept. 5 by Judge Paul Farr to a year of service and leadership in their community. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Gallery: Youth Council [1 Image] Click any image to expand.

When Jordan High student Joey Wrigley decided to apply to be in Sandy City Youth Council, he knew a little about it because his older sisters had served. What he didn’t know was how it could be “super useful” to a possible future career.

Wrigley, who was one of three teenagers who was sworn in Sept. 5 by Judge Paul Farr as Sandy youth mayor at the Sandy City Council meeting, said a career he’d like to explore is that of a civil engineer.

“We learn how the city government works and how it is run, so we meet people and discover how it works,” he said. “For example, we learned how the city engineer plans and builds the city and that can be super useful if I become a civil engineer.”

While the year promises opportunities to meet different branches of Sandy City’s services, there also will be service and social opportunities for the 22 members who either live in Sandy or attend a Sandy high school. This year, there are students who attend Alta and Jordan High Schools, Hillcrest High in Midvale and Brighton High in Cottonwood Heights. 

Wrigley said through being a Sandy City Youth Council member last year, he’s learned team building, leadership and has been able to help people in need in the city. He also was able to tour the city with Mayor Tom Dolan.

Although Wrigley is a member of Jordan High’s National Honors Society and robotics team and has a part-time online programming job, he said Sandy City Youth Council is different.

“I’m meeting other students with similar interests and making connections I wouldn’t have if not for this opportunity,” he said.

Wrigley also became reacquainted with his former elementary school classmate, Josh Han, who also serves as a Sandy youth mayor. Josh now is a senior at Hillcrest High.

“I’m interested in being more involved and learning the legislative process,” Han said. “It will be a great opportunity for us as youth to observe our government and see how it works.”

Han also said he’s interested in learning about health care and possibly pursuing a career in the field. He plans on majoring in biology and government and minoring in business in college. 

“I’ve always liked being involved in my community and by meeting other students from other schools, I realize we can come together to broaden our horizons,” he said.

Han, who speaks Korean and English, currently serves as Future Business Leaders of America state president and is involved in speech and debate and National Honors Society at Hillcrest. As an international baccalaureate student, he also speaks Spanish and Mandarin.

His classmate, Megan Okumura, said even though she is Hillcrest’s National Honors Society vice president, a member of the Peer Leadership Team and participates in the vocal ensemble and fall musical, she is committed to Sandy City Youth Council.

“Our goal is to get to know everyone right at the start,” she said. “When we get to be good friends, we’re connected and will be able to do more.”

She is looking forward to several service projects such as helping at the Utah Food Bank, spending time with families in LifeStart transitional housing and helping make and deliver burritos with the Burrito Project. 

Last year, as a Sandy City Youth Council member, she made a public service announcement about domestic violence.

“We can go out and change lives by giving service,” she said. 

For the past 23 years, Marsha Millet has advised the youth council.

“This is their opportunity to learn about their city government, to serve their community and build leadership opportunities. The students are building relationships with each other and the community,” she said.

Millet said some of the youth council activities are tradition, such as teacher appreciation dinner in the spring or a murder mystery dinner in the fall. Last year, the group helped at the Sandy Animal Shelter and it was met with a positive response. Former youth mayor, now adviser, Shelby Hewitt is helping to set up a visit for this year’s council.

“These are among the finest youth in the state and it’s my favorite part of my job,” she said. “The council is a great group of young people who are learning the tools to help them become leaders and succeed.”  

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