Teens eager to share ideas on possible Dover activities

DOVER — Zorana Ilic said Monday night’s first meeting of Dover’s revitalized Youth Advisory Committee went well.

“We set up an agenda that we can actually act on the next time we meet,” the 17-year-old said. “We’re trying to provide events for the youth to attend.”

Consisting of nine members, the committee will meet once a month and will allow youths ages 14 to 18 a chance to speak on issues that affect them. An additional aim is help them develop leadership skills for the future.

Councilman David Anderson swore in Rebecca Anderson, Jessica Simmons and Zorana Ilic, along with Council President Timothy Slavin, during the Youth Advisory Committee’s first meeting Monday. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

Councilman David Anderson swore in Rebecca Anderson, Jessica Simmons and Zorana Ilic, along with Council President Timothy Slavin, during the Youth Advisory Committee’s first meeting Monday. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

“Right now we’re a little small and we’re trying to get things started because it’s the first time that we’ve ever done something like this,” said 14-year-old Jessica Simmons.

“I think once the youth of Dover recognizes the different events that we plan to have for them, then they will come out.”

One item discussed during the meeting was finding an event for the First Friday celebration in August.

“I think it’s something we all need to figure out,” Jessica said. “We need to start planning that out during the next meeting.”

Rebecca Anderson, 16, said she joined the committee due to the lack of events geared toward teenagers in the city.

“Dover is small and people here tend to be bored,” Rebecca said. “They don’t have any opportunities to go anywhere and it leads us to provide people with fun. “Our city needs a lot of representation from the youth.

“For kids 8 and under there are all sorts of events for them to do, but there isn’t anything for us. If we actually have events that create opportunities for them then we can start to make a difference.”

The late Councilwoman Sophia Russell formed the committee in 2010. It never officially was disbanded, but it eventually halted operation because of lack of participation.

Before she died in 2012, Ms. Russell asked Councilman David Anderson to continue with the committee.

Both Mr. Anderson and Council President Timothy Slavin were present at the meeting and reminded the members of their importance to the city.

“This is important because there are older people like Councilman Anderson and I who don’t listen enough to the younger people,” Mr. Slavin said. “You are a different set of eyes on the issues that we have. We want to hear how you want the city to grow.”

People can apply to be on the committee on the city’s website.

Jessica hopes once more people learn about the committee they will come and support it.

“Everybody doesn’t have to join,” Jessica said. “We would appreciate the youth to just come out and throw ideas out to us. Just taking time out of their day to help us can make a big difference.”

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