Community Connections: Teen Council says ‘thanks’ |

Community Connections: Teen Council says ‘thanks’

Steamboat Springs Teen Council’s mission is to demonstrate that teens are valuable assets and are caring members of the community.  As leaders among our peers, we exemplify that teens are committed to education, health/wellness, the environment and service in a community where teens have a voice.

Steamboat Springs Teen Council is a group of 15 kids made up of ninth- through 12-graders living in the Steamboat area.  The mission has always included “giving teens a voice,” and last school year we decided to use that voice to help propel forward an ordinance within the city of Steamboat Springs to eliminate plastic bags from large retail and grocery stores within city limits. 

This issue is very important to us because it has long-lasting environmental effects, not only locally, but globally, and is something where we can have a specific, positive impact. 

It has taken a lot of hours and work, but on Nov 13, Steamboat Springs City Council heard our presentation, along with the voices of support from many members of the community, and are currently moving forward putting together language for an ordinance to eliminate the availability of plastic bags. 

This would not have been possible without outside support, so we would like to express our thanks.

We would first like to thank our past and current facilitators:  Steph Seiden and Bobby Jones for supporting us when we decided on the project last school year, as well as Mackenzie Woodsmall and Meghan Barrett for continuing that support this year, keeping us on task,  informed on upcoming events and opportunities and  fed at each meeting.

We would like to thank the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, and specifically Sarah Jones, Catherine Carson and Cameron Hawkins for being an endless source of information.  Their passion and expertise surrounding this issue has been invaluable to us, and has help give us the knowledge and confidence to move forward.

We would like to thank the local business community.  We have spoken with, emailed and phoned many of the businesses downtown and on the mountain, and have seen overwhelming agreement on the issue from them, including those that this would impact the most.

We would like to thank City Council members for not only being willing to listen to a group of kids with a mission, but for taking this issue seriously, and recognizing that something needs to be done.   We look forward to working with you in the future, ensuring that this ban comes to fruition, and bringing new issues and concerns to your attention.

Lastly, we would like to thank the community in general and all of the members of the public who wrote emails, made phone calls, wrote letters to the paper and showed up at the council meeting.  The number of people who spoke in support at public comment was staggering, and there was not a single person who spoke against it.

This is moving forward, but is not done yet.  The next meeting currently scheduled with the plastic bag ban on the agenda is Feb. 26.  We will continue to educate members of the community, and we ask that you also continue to voice your opinion on the issue.  Please consider writing emails to council members, writing letters to the paper, sharing information on social media, and if you can, show up at the council meeting Feb 26.  Help make this a reality.  Help us become “Bag Free in the Boat!”

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