Galt officials wanted to give the city’s youths something to call their own, and the result was recently accepted with formal votes from the City Council and both city school districts.
The concept for the city’s first-ever Youth Master Plan was introduced to Mayor Barbara Payne, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District Superintendent Karen Schauer and John Durand of the Galt Youth Coalition attended a workshop in Davis.
“We all agreed that it was an exciting idea and wanted to pursue it,” Payne said this week.
She launched the effort to focus on youths when she heard of students getting involved in gangs and some as young as 12 being asked to sell drugs in her neighborhood. Among other things, the plan is a positive way to help the city’s youths avoid such negative influences by keeping busy, Payne said.
Stakeholders, including teenagers and elected officials, held brainstorming sessions to create the planning document.
“The neatest thing is it was developed with input from the youths,” City Manager Jason Behrmann said at last week’s City Council meeting. “It wasn’t something driven by the agencies.”
What’s it all about?
The master plan is essentially a visionary roadmap of goals for the city residents aged 24 and under. It was paid for with a grant from the Sutter Health Foundation and includes age-appropriate categories.
“(It) recognizes the importance of creating this environment begins at birth, but doesn’t end when one graduates from high school,” Payne said.
Schauer said the master plan is best described through its theme of “learn, share, grow.”
It creates opportunities for the city’s youths to get involved and encourages them to participate in programs already in place. The plan also puts into writing goals to create healthier settings for youths, such as increased bike paths, and promotes local recreational activities.
How long did it take?
Six years ago, the city formed a youth committee to ensure youth needs were being met. It was a collaboration not only between the city and two school districts, but with input from the parks and recreation and police departments.
Integral people included Janet Munoz, Patricia St. James and councilman Randy Shelton.
“The plan was put together through workshops that included the school districts, community members, with the youths taking the lead so we are excited to put it into action. The next step is planning the action,” Payne said.
Now that is has been adopted, the City and Schools Together Committee will put elements of the plan to work and regularly report back to the public, according to Payne.
“These goals can measure our progress and success,” she said. “This will prevent the Youth Master Plan from being put on the shelf and forgotten. It is a living document that will change with the changing times.”
What do people have to say about it?
Since its inception, Payne said Galt’s Youth Master Plan is becoming a model for other cities, and she’s received positive input from community members.
“With Galt recognized as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People through the America’s Promise Alliance, we are on the right path to keep moving forward with our youth together in the short and long term,” Schauer said.
The plan can be reviewed at www.ci.galt.ca.us.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.