By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE - The city's parks and recreation department is seeking teen input on the city's first-ever Youth Advisory Council.

"(Students) will start at the end of the year, but they will be on the board for the next year," said Andy Cedillo, the director of the parks and recreation department.

The goal is to start the official youth advisory board in May with 15 to 20 high school students, said Cedillo. This group will provide opinions to the City Council about the community needs and wants of the youth.

"This is an opportunity for them to take an active role in what they want of their city," said Cedillo. "You have a lot of kids that complain about a lot of stuff, but this gives them an opportunity to be heard."

The Youth Advisory Council also will manage its own budget and will have a council member, Gary Kent, and a city staff member serve as advisers to the board.

In its inaugural year, students will create the bylaws for the organizations with city staff that can be revised by future members, said Cedillo.

Those who apply will be allowed to serve a two-year term, according to a news release from the city.

Youth councils are popular in other Texas cities, including Killeen, where a Youth Advisory Commission has been operating since 1993.

Originally, Killeen's program was for students in eighth through 12th grades, but it has been so successful, the city expanded it to fourth- through seventh-grade students in 2009, said Roxanne Winder, a youth program specialist who runs Killeen's youth commission, in December.

The Killeen group has discussed various issues, including construction of a skate park and curfew limitations. "If it is an issue, (the council) knows the youth is there to provide their input; it is just a matter of (the council) coming to them," said Winder.

Participants should be current Copperas Cove Independent School District students in good standing, according to information provided by the city.

Meetings will be at 5 p.m. the first Monday of each month at the golf course.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveEditor.

How to apply

Applications for the Youth Advisory Council are available at under the Boards and Commissions tab.

Youth can pick up an application at the Parks and Recreation Department, 1408 Golf Course Road.

For more information, call (254) 542-2719 or email Andy Cedillo at

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