Service, Networking Opportunities as Youth Leave Impact
Members of the Murray Youth Chamber of Commerce make burritos before delivering them to the homeless downtown. – Murray Youth Chamber of Commerce
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By Travis Barton | firstname.lastname@example.org
Murray may not technically have a youth city council, but they sure have an active youth.
The Murray Youth Chamber of Commerce (MYCC) is made up of about 30 youth who perform service projects on a regular basis throughout the year. The club includes teenagers not just from Murray but also from around the valley as well including the American International School of Utah.
“It’s given me lots of opportunities for volunteer work and its helped me meet a lot of people who enjoy volunteer work as much as me,” Anna Heaton, MYCC co-mayor, said.
Murray city used to have a youth city council before the city had to cut spending in 2005 making their youth government an unfortunate casualty.
Sheri Van Bibber, MYCC advisor, used grant money to keep the youth council going from where she worked at the Boys and Girls Club. Even after that money dried up, the council continues.
“After ten years the money dried up and I thought, ‘well let’s just keep this going, there’s no reason not to,’” Van Bibber said.
Van Bibber said they basically wrapped the Murray Youth City Council, the Murray Youth Chamber of Commerce, Murray Youth Exchange and Murray Youth Excel all into one club.
It’s works better for the kids in the club this way because, Van Bibber said, it gives the kids more opportunities at scholarships.
“It’s really just been a win-win-win-win…I used to sit on scholarship boards and kids have to do so much and be so well-rounded and yet they need to be focused on school and they need to have all of these things so this kind of gave us a network,” Van Bibber said.
Zach Rose, MYCC co-mayor, said it’s been wonderful working with different charitable organizations.
“We’ve seen their passion giving back and its helped fuel ours even more,” Rose said.
Instead of following the school year clock, Van Bibber said the club goes year around.
“We’ve adapted the summer of service where kids have to do 75 to 100 hours of service and they get a presidential certificate,” Van Bibber said.
Some of the service opportunities includes the Relay for Life on July 15, making burritos for the homeless, running their own blood drives and they’re responsible for the Haunted Woods put on every year at Murray City Park.
“It’s like when they walk in this door, there’s this basket of anything they want to pull from,” Van Bibber said.
“[The service] benefits you in countless ways, it makes you feel happy, makes you feel good about yourself and I’ve gotten to work with a lot of really fun kids who love doing service just as much as you,” Rose said.
Van Bibber said being in club prepares the kids so much for the rest of their lives.
“They figure out how to balance their lives,” Van Bibber said.
With all the companies the students work with, being in the club creates plenty of job opportunities.
“It’s because they know these kids are just a step above,” Van Bibber said.
Rose and Heaton, who run the planning for all these service projects said they’ve loved being in the club. Both graduated from Murray High School this year and both intend to serve LDS missions.
Rose said if other youth love service than this club is the place for you.
“You won’t regret a minute of it,” Rose said.
“It’s not only good to put on college applications but you can have fun and make friends while volunteering,” Heaton said.
For Rose, he said he hopes to continue in this vein of service.
“I’m seeking to stay active my whole life in service in whatever way,” Rose said.
Van Bibber said those in the club are just a special kind of kid.
“The kids that do this are the kids that want to, nobody’s there because they have to be,” Van Bibber said.
For those interested in joining MYCC, call the Murray Chamber of Commerce at 801-263-2632. λ