Students reflect on service with Helena Teen Council

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Founder, and now UAB student, Kylie Woodman, was inspired to form the Helena Teen Council in 2014, after writing an essay on the issue of teen involvement for a school paper.

At the City Council on Sept. 12, Woodman introduced the new members of the 2016-2017 Teen Council and a leadership meeting was held on Oct. 4.

Helena Teen Council holds bi-monthly meetings and planned activities include: Serving dinner at Hope Lodge in January, a field trip to Civil Rights Museum in February, planting Helena’s hanging baskets next spring and volunteering at Buck Creek Festival.

Taylor Hinch, who lives in Helena, and is currently a senior at Indian Springs School, is a new member.

“Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Montgomery for a youth lobbying day,” Hinch said. “This experience was life-changing and made me question the path I wanted to take in life.

“I now know I want to go into politics and create change at the state and federal level. I decided to apply to the Helena Teen Council because I believe this program will give me great insight into the way local government is run and also give me the opportunity to speak with government officials. I am most excited about having the chance to plan projects the whole city will benefit from. I am hoping to learn more about Helena and its residents, while helping to provide beneficial services.”

Hinch is involved, also, with the Indian Springs School Mock Trial team. The team was No. 1 in the state last year and nationally ranked two years in a row. Hinch is also an active Student Ambassador.

“I’m not sure where I will go to college yet, but I plan to double major in political science and psychology,” she says.

“I joined Teen Council because I have great interest in government,” Will Rogers said. “I want to learn all I can about our local government and community. I love Helena, and I want to see it prosper and grow. By being a part of Teen Council, I will help bridge the gap between youth and government and develop leadership skills while contributing to my community through service projects. I hope to continue my involvement in government after high school and college.”

Teen Council Ambassador Morgan Jacobs has high expectations for the 2016-17 members.

“My favorite meeting,” she recalls, “Was the leadership meeting when Mayor Mark Hall came to talk to us about being a leader and what it is like to make big decisions.”

“I hope to work in healthcare one day, and I believe Helena Teen Council has helped prepare me to be a leader,” Jacobs said. “I plan to come back to Helena after college and I want to stay involved in the city. I might even run for city council one day!”