GPA Requirement: Have an overall 2.75 GPA on 4.0 scale at the time of application
What happens during a class day?
As with our other programs, we use hands-on experience as much as possible to teach. Each class day focuses on a different Ward, with the two councilpersons from that Ward acting as hosts. A student-produced introduction to the Ward is used as a springboard to broader discussion of various City issues -- public safety, economic development, historic preservation, for instance. Our Opening Retreat is organized to develop a high comfort level among class members, and our closing celebration is planned to applaud the youth council's accomplishments for the year. In addition to class days, council members make public appearances with their elected counterpart, at neighborhood meetings, council meetings, banquets and as guests on the City's cable television channel.
When are the Youth Council of Oklahoma City meetings?
The one-day class sessions are September through May, generally on Wednesday or Thursday. The Opening Retreat is held in late August, and the Closing Celebration will be in late April. Regular class day sessions usually run from 7:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon.
Where are the Youth Council of Oklahoma City meetings?
Each class session is held at different locations around the City, and usually includes time at City Hall as well. Councilors are notified in advance of the exact location of classes.
Will schools excuse class members on these days?
Through our nine-plus years in existence, YLX has had class members from 46 of the 70 public and private high schools in Oklahoma County. By and large, administrators support our program, and will excuse students who are in good standing otherwise. Applicants must submit a form signed by a school administrator as part of the application process, and these are made available to attendance offices if any question arises. Some schools do count these absences in determining if a student is exempt from finals. If you have a question, check with your school's attendance office.
Who operates this program?
The Youth Leadership Exchange, a program of Leadership Oklahoma City, manages this program for the City of Oklahoma City. Adult volunteers -- including City personnel, educators, physicians, attorneys, law enforcement professionals, journalists, and non-profit executives -- plan and implement the program. If needed, volunteers will also provide Youth Council members with rides to and from class, so lack of transportation is not a barrier to participation.
What are the benefits to class members?
The real world civics lesson offered through our class days is invaluable to a young person considering a life of public service, an unparalleled opportunity for the right students.
In addition, all the YLX classes are selected with an eye toward gender balance, racial and cultural diversity, and representation from a range of schools. Youth Councilors are selected on the basis of the Ward where they live; so, exposure to others from every different part of the City is a major benefit of YLX, and allows for a range of networking opportunities not usually available to high school students. They meet and work with a variety of adults, creating an adult as well as a youth network. Youth Councilors become more practiced and more effective in public speaking and presentation skills. Class members see firsthand a variety of careers available to them, with an emphasis on those available in and with Oklahoma City.
How much does the class cost?
The Youth Council is completely funded by the City of Oklahoma City. Just as with the other YLX programs, neither class members nor their parents pay tuition or any other cost.
Those chosen must attend the Opening Retreat and no more than two absences are allowed. If this could pose a problem, you shouldn't apply. Junior applicants who are not chosen are urged to reapply.
How do I apply?
In April, applications are mailed to all Oklahoma City high schools and to individuals who have requested them. The completed application includes a permission form from the parent and a school administrator, two essays and two letters of recommendation from adults who know the student well. Each completed application is read and scored, and from this pool finalists from each Ward are chosen to be interviewed. From this group 18 youth City council members are chosen.