YAB is a youth-based, youth-led, and youth-driven board that works hand-in-hand with area youth and adult policy makers to help alleviate community problems and improve the quality of life for everyone.
The Buffalo County Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a program and a philosophy that recognizes youth as valuable resources in our community and empowers them as equal community partners to bring about positive community change.
YAB works to increase youth participation and recruit new board members. It ensures each Buffalo County community is represented by a youth member, and new youth members receive training on environmental strategies to impact change in their community. YAB decides on issues it feels will most likely have an impact, and is currently focused on youth stress, youth alcohol and tobacco use, and school spirit.
YAB develops new and innovative solutions to build a healthier community. YAB’s “Youth, Take a Stand” campaign has utilized billboard, radio, and TV public service announcements to discourage underage drinking. They have also lobbied at the capital to show a youth voice for different initiatives, including smoke free counties.
The youth start the year by looking at data that is relevant to them. The youth then decide what the topics are they would like to work on for the year.
This is the 2016 data which the youth used to create their priority work groups.
School Spirit: Constructive Use of Time
• 48% of youth report are not involved in creative things such as,
music, theater, or art
• 46% of youth report they do not serve others in their community
Substance Use: Alcohol and Marijuana Use
• 20.4% reported using alcohol compared to 18.5% in 2014
• 8.6% reporting using marijuana compared to 10% in 2014
• 68.8% of youth report getting less than 8 hours of sleep
• 24.1% of youth report feeling so sad or hopeless every day for two
weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual
activities during the past 12 months
Youth provided the foundation for Buffalo County Community Partner’s work in Building a Healthier Buffalo County. Buffalo County youth coined the motto “Don’t do it for us without us,” in 1999. This motto was used to develop county wide youth leadership to tackle issues faced by youth.
The Buffalo County Youth Advisory Board began in 2000 with over 50 Buffalo County youth engaged in building a model youth board that would encompass all Buffalo County communities. Youth in 7th-12th grade, from the following communities serve on the board:
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- Elm Creek
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- Kearney Catholic
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The board consists of at least 30 individuals, with a 5:1 ratio of youth to adults. Members are selected based on experience, interest, and commitment to the YAB philosophy and the Buffalo County community. Members reflect the geographic, ethnic, and economic diversity of the Buffalo County community.