The Founding of YAB
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.
Starting in 1997, Buffalo County youth attended Youth Congress events to develop community specific projects. Some of those projects included:
Amherst – Youth Congress participants adopted a grade school class every Wednesday for an hour to read to them or join them for recess.
Ravenna – Hosted movie nights, youth retreats, sport/pizza nights, and invited other youth to join an overnight lock-in. In 2003, they built the Ravenna Youth Center.
Shelton – Bulldogs Against Drugs developed a Red Ribbon Week with drug free pledges, poster contests, radio messages, and worked to develop a mentoring program. In 2005, they developed the STAND youth group.
Elm Creek – Hosted Red Ribbon Week activities, a winter dance, Teens Tackle Tobacco Rally and Tobacco is Trash week, and they created Buffateers group to reduce youth substance abuse.
Pleasanton – Presented clowning skits to grade school students, discussed how to be a drug free mentor and hosted an elementary health fair. They Supported the restoration of the Pleasanton Depot.
Sumner-Eddyville-Miller – Secured Nebraska Tobacco Settlement funds to host Teens Tackle Tobacco Rallies for area youth and to learn about the impact of tobacco.
Kearney – Worked with DAFFY (Drug and Alcohol Free Youth) to educate classmates on the impact of alcohol. Later, They assisted in bringing speakers to Kearney to educate parents on methamphetamines.
Youth Congress gave a formal voice to youth, placed them on equal footing with adults and empowered them to plan together. Overall, youth reported a 5% increase in feelings of empowerment after attending Youth Congress events over two years (2000).
In 2003, youth conversations lead to the formation of a youth led board. Youth leaders presented by-laws and operating procedures to the Buffalo County Community Partners to start the Buffalo County Youth Advisory Board.
In 2005 the YAB received funding by the Governor’s office to launch a media campaign, “Be a Responsible Parent.” YAB reviewed youth surveys and selected a trend in which to make an impact. They developed concepts and contracted with SCORR Marketing to develop art for the campaign.
YAB has continued with annual events to strengthen and engage youth within Buffalo County.
YAB Timeline of Events:
1999 Hosted Youth Congress Events.
2002 Hosted a joint Buffalo County Health Summit with youth and adults to develop a county wide youth empowerment and leadership board.
2004 Developed the Buffalo County Youth Advisory Board (YAB) and secured funding for activities.
2005 Buffalo County named one of 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance.
2005 Started Buffalo County Youth Day to State Capitol with 10 youth and grew to over 200 students, to advocate for increases in alcohol and tobacco taxes, smoke free workplaces and seat belt use.
2007 Hosted first Annual Buffalo County Youth Summit to engage youth in leadership and social entrepreneurship.
2010 Hosted Youth 4 Youth event which brought together Leadership Kearney Youth and Buffalo County Youth Advisory Board members with Leadership Kearney Adults.
2011 Hosted Show Me The Money Workshop to bring resources to youth and parents to apply for scholarships and empower youth.
2013 Started Annual Youth Academy for Democracy because youth numbers outgrew funding available to travel to Lincoln annually.
2016 Annual Youth Summit returns to engage youth in leadership and entrepreneurship.