Fort Walton Beach establishes Youth Council after drawing names from a jar

On Tuesday night, the Fort Walton Bech City Council appointed 8 applicants for the re-established Youth Council by drawing names from a jar.

The City received 12 applications and could only choose 8 to fill the seats. Council-member Nic Allegretto brought up the idea of choosing the students at random.

“I hate to pick against any kid who has done well for themselves and applied to be part of this council,” said Allegretto to the rest of the council. “We can take the other 4 and keep them as alternates.”

The 8 appointed members are:

  • Rachel Allen – Fort Walton Beach High School
  • Gabriel Fallon – Choctawhatchee High School
  • Elizabeth Black – Choctawhatchee High School
  • Madeline Bowell – Choctawhatchee High School
  • Olivia Mead – Fort Walton Beach High School
  • Dorian Smith – Fort Walton Beach High School
  • Francheska Babauta – Fort Walton Beach High School
  • Audrey Evans – Fort Walton Beach High School

Alternates include:

  1. Kerrigan Wesley – Choctawhatchee High School
  2. Samuel King – Choctawhatchee High School
  3. Jonathan McIntyre – Fort Walton Beach High School
  4. Donterrio Smith – Fort Walton Beach High School

The purpose of the Youth Council is to advise the City Council on matters affecting the City’s youth. They will also recommend to City Council desired programs, projects, and activities important to the City’s youth, and to make the community a desired place for youth to eventually live, work and raise their families.

This will provide an opportunity for the youth of Fort Walton Beach to participate in:

  • City government
  • Take an active role in shaping the future of the City
  • and Become leaders in the community

The City first established a Youth Council in 2007, however it was dissolved in 2009 because of lack of participation.

If you could change one thing about the city…

“I would like to continue the efforts to make Downtown Fort Walton Beach more family-friendly, and possibly include more shops for tourists to increase revenue.”

Madeline Bowell, CHS

“If I could change one thing it would be putting more focus on teenage entertainment. There is a focus on young kid and adult entertainment but not as much for teenagers.”

Kerrigan Wesley, CHS

“To give smaller businesses assistance or offer aid to assist them in either getting established or, if need be, financial or business advice, in order to address the numerous commercial locations being empty and unoccupied.”

Gabriel Fallon, CHS

“I would love to bring more art, music, and culture into the city. I would love to see things like this that are geared towards youth. While we have art programs in schools, we have no casual ways for students to experience art and music. You can either take advanced art classes where you are constantly graded, or join your school’s band which is a major commitment and not for anyone with casual interests. Also, I would make sure as a city, that we have more representation and appreciation of Native American culture, as it is a major part of our history.”

Elizabeth Black CHS

“If I could, I would boost businesses in Fort Walton by encouraging more shop owners to open up stores in empty lots around the city. One thing Fort Walton lacks is a decent amount of product-based stores that sell clothes, toys, or other tangible goods.”

Jonathan McIntyre, FWBHS

Moving forward: The Youth Council will meet on the first Tuesday of every month, excluding June, July, and August, at 4 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at Fort Walton Beach City Hall.

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