The County Commissioners will convene the fourth annual Schuylkill County Youth Summit on March 10th, 2016 at the Penn State Schuylkill campus in Schuylkill Haven. This year’s summit will once again bring together youth from all county high schools to engage them in making the county a better place for them to live, work, play, and raise their families. This year’s summit has had more students input. The topic for the summit will be blight. The Youth Summit Youth Ambassadors, a subset of the summit representatives, have been meeting for several months to find out more about the issue. Tom Palamar, Pottsville City Administrator and Mary Beth Dougherty of Senator Argall’s office have both shared information with this group.
At the summit, students will hear from Micha Gursky, part time executive director of the Tamaqua Community Partnership, about the transformation of Tamaqua over the past years. There will also be a panel of experts to address students’ questions and offer coaching. The students do not only want to look at the problem of blight but come up solutions. Each school will work on a plan to address blight in some way in their community.
One new addition to the Youth Summit Youth Ambassadors this year has been the appointment of the Youth Ambassador Executives. Four students have been meeting regularly with Commissioner Hess and Kay Jones of VISION to make the Youth Summit more students driven. An active community advisory group meets monthly to provide suggestions on how to support the students. In addition a new group of community leaders is looking at the issue of preparing our students for the jobs in the region. This group began meeting in 2015 and continues to work on this issue that students had identified as one of the most pressing for them.
As the summit continues to develop, its basic mission to engage, equip and support our youth remains the primary focus. Each year the summit becomes more sensitive to students’ concerns and their ability to address some of these with support from the community. Each year the Youth Summit receives more support from community organizations. This year the summit has received support from 17 community businesses. We especially thank M & T Bank, , The Schuylkill Chamber Foundation, the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, and the West Charitable Trust for their support.