Youth on A Mission
What is Youth on A Mission?
Youth on A Mission (YAM) is a Youth Advisory Council comprised of high school youth from Unit 5 school district and University High School. The expectation of the council is to provide an avenue to engage youth, provide leadership growth and an opportunity to learn about municipal government. Youth on A Mission will engage in activities like advocacy and strategic planning. The program runs from September to April/May. Students may also participate in Illinois Municipal League activities during the course of the program, and may have the opportunity to travel to various National League of Cities events. The program year closes with a celebration.
Students from Normal Community High School, Normal Community West High School and University High School are eligible to apply. Students must have at least 2.25 GPA or higher to participate.
There is no cost for a student to participate. In lieu of paying for the program, we ask each student to:
- Attend every session and be actively engaged. Participants cannot miss more than two sessions.
- Agree to participate in the YAM fundraiser.
How do I apply?
The application period for 2023-2024 closed Sept. 8.
Youth On a Mission Curriculum
Friday, October 20, 2023 - Sunday, October 22, 2023
Welcome Retreat: A three-day retreat in Uptown Normal. Participants will spend the weekend learning about themselves as leaders and workshopping the early stages of their presentations to the Normal Town Council.
- Friday, October 20
Strategic Planning I: Participants will be introduced to the Town of Normal and the role of municipal government in their daily lives. Participants will begin to workshop their year-long project ideas as a group.
4 p.m. - 8 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Room 409)
- Saturday, October 21
Team Building & Leadership Development: Participants will spend the day learning about themselves as leaders and creating personal definitions of community and leadership. Following a day with speakers and workshops, participants will be transported to a team building night of bowling.
9 a.m. - 8 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Room 409)
- Sunday, October 22
Strategic Planning II & Elections: Participants will finalize the topics for their group projects and develop a plan for their project going forward. Participants will listen to stump speeches and elect their Youth on a Mission Board Members.
2 p.m. - 6 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Room 409)
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Fireside Chat with Council and Town Administration: Participants will speak with various Normal Town Council & staff members. Participants will perform research for their group projects.
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Council Chambers 412)
Saturday, December 16, 2023
City Manager & Department Tours: Participants will meet with the Normal City Manager to learn about the departments within the Town of Normal and the functions of a municipal government. Participants will begin to create their PowerPoint presentations for their group projects.
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (TBA - Broadview Mansion)
Holiday Celebration & Networking Event: Participants will enjoy an evening at the Children’s Discovery Museum with dinner and various activities provided.
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (Children’s Discovery Museum)
Saturday, January 20, 2024
Town Budget and Financial Planning: Participants will hear from Town of Normal’s Director of Finance regarding the budget and how the Town Council budgets for upcoming years. Participants will perform more intensive research for their group projects.
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Room - 409)
Saturday, February 17, 2024
Legislative Advocacy & Civic Duty: Participants will learn about the role of advocacy in municipal and state government while learning to advocate for their own projects. Participants will receive a crash-course in creating infographics and develop infographics for their own projects.
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Room 409)
Saturday, March 16, 2024
Citizen Engagement: Boards & Commissions: Participants will learn about the role of citizens, voters, and appointed positions in municipal government. Participants will fine tune the details of their projects and presentations. Participants will visit and tour the Normal Fire Department Headquarters.
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Town of Normal Fire Department Headquarters)
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Presentation Preparation: Participants will finalize their projects and prepare to present their ideas to the Normal Town Council at a regularly scheduled Council meeting. Participants will visit and tour the Normal Water Treatment Plant.
9 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Uptown City Hall; Room 409)
Monday, May 20, 2024 - Tentative
Presentation to Council: Participants will present their group projects to the Normal Town Council at a regularly scheduled Council meeting. Councilmembers will provide brief feedback while participants remain for the duration of the Council meeting.
5 p.m. - End of Meeting (Uptown City Hall; Council Chambers 412)
March 9-14, 2023 - Tentative
NLC Congressional Conference (Washington, DC): A six-day trip to Washington D.C. for the National League of Cities Congressional Conference. Selected participants will attend a number of workshops alongside other municipal student representatives in preparation for Capitol Hill Day. More information can be found at ccc.nlc.org.
All Day Event (Washington, DC)
April (Date not announced) - Tentative
IML Lobby Day: A one day trip to Springfield, Illinois for the Illinois Municipal League’s Lobby Day; selected participants will hear from speakers including Illinois General Assembly leadership and meet with legislators inside the State Capitol. More information can be found at iml.org/lobbyday.
7 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Springfield, IL)
Friday, June 7, 2024
Award Presentation and Closing Engagement: Participants will close out the ‘23-’24 program year with a team dinner.
Time TBA (Location TBA)
Mentors & Advisors
Youth On a Mission, presented by the Town of Normal and in accordance with the National League of Cities, was created in 2021 to heighten youth engagement/involvement within the community. This council aims to engage and educate the youth of Normal about community decision making, sparking future initiatives that incorporate the structure of all levels of government. The council will directly involve the students in policymaking, as well as special projects, all of which are in partnership with adult community leaders. Youth On a Mission will also present a community plan to the Normal City Council for each fiscal year they are in session.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or volunteer, please contact the Town of Normal or complete this application.
- How should I compile my essay questions?
- Complete all essay questions in the fillable application form or upload a separate document.
- When are student applications due for the 2023 – 2024 program year?
- Student applications are due on Sept. 8, 2023.
- When will I hear back that I have been accepted into the program?
- Students should hear back by Sept. 20, 2023.
- When are mentor and volunteer applications due?
- Both applications are due Sept. 8.
- What is the age range for Youth On A Mission?
- The program prioritizes high school sophomores and juniors, however, will consider freshmen and seniors.
- What is the time commitment for the Program?
- Students should prepare to attend a three-day weekend retreat in October and one session a month on Saturdays. In addition, students create and present a presentation to the Town Council at the end of the program in late April/early May.