Youth Commission, Summer At City Hall involve youth in city government



Youth activism pays an important part in local governments and politics in programs operated by the City Of Sacramento. 

The Sacramento Youth Commission and Summer At City Hall are both programs operated by the Youth Civic Engagement Unit, part of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Enrichment. 

Adidev Rooprai, senior at Inderkum High School, is a youth advocate and has taken part in programs such as Summer at City Hall, which he called a rewarding experience. 

The first and foremost role that youth can take on is that of a volunteer. There are so many volunteering opportunities in our city at district council level. There are programs like S@CH, internships available with city leader,” Rooprai said. 

The Summer @ City Hall program, led by Maria Vides-Medal, is one of many offered by the city. Vides-Medal says she has seen a significant uptick in youth participation in advocacy. 

“I would say I have seen an increase in young people just because I’m part of the center of that. I can see our previous participants being involved in city issues after doing Summer at City Hall and the Sacramento youth commission,” said Vides-Medal.

Vides-Medal coordinates the six-week Summer @ City Hall Program, in which students have “the opportunity to learn about local government processes and how to become an active citizen in their community,” according to the City Of Sacramento website. 

Rooprai believes this program is highly valuable for the youth because of the wide benefits it offers. Programs like S@CH not only give the youth a forum to learn about civic engagement and government, it also offers an internship experience. For all practical purposes, it’s essentially an on-site job experience. It gives you tools to take on a project, work in a team setting, learn how to put forth your ideas, create a marketing plan and sell your project,”

Rhonda Patterson oversees the Summer @ City Hall Program and the Youth Commission for the City of Sacramento. 

“Another entity is the youth-led legislative body (Youth Commission) established in 1993, and designated as the official youth voice of the city. They are 19 appointees, appointed through their (city council) district, and serve as an advisory board to make recommendations and work on youth development policies,” said Patterson. 

“The Sacramento Youth Commission (SYC) mission is to protect, preserve, enhance & advance the quality of life for Sacramento youth by advising the City Council and the public on issues relating to youth policies, programs, & opportunities,” is the SYC’s mission statement, as per the City Of Sacramento Website. 

She believes the youth advocacy programs of the City of Sacramento are incredibly important, not just to policy work, but for the youths themselves.

“The impact that it has had on youth being able to have a voice and moving toward policy work has been extremely impactful by having young people have a seat at the table and actively involve them and identify solutions and gain first-hand experience on local government,” said Patterson. 

The impact of youth advocacy extends to adults in the city as well, according to Patterson.

“The adults are really learning the impact of what the youth are really doing. That’s really an eye-opening experience for any adult,” she said.

The importance of youth advocacy was echoed by Rooprai.

Youth is the ‘tomorrow’ and has to build on yesterday and today. If we don’t get involved now, there could be a disconnect between the three. It’s important to learn about the policies and governing decisions that are potentially going to make/break our future. It’s important to learn why some decisions were made and how they did/will impact us,” said Rooprai.

Similar sentiment was shared by Patterson.

“Who knows better what youth needs than youth?” said Patterson. 

More information can be found on the City of Sacramento website, on both the SYC and Summer @ City Hall pages.