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Macon-Bibb Youth Commissioner to serve on the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education, and Families

Rushabh (Rush) Patel, a Macon-Bibb County Youth Commissioner and a sophomore at Stratford Academy has been selected to be a board member of the prestigious National League of Cities (NLC) Council on Youth, Education, and Families. NLC's Council on Youth,
Education, and Families (YEF Council) guides and oversees the YEF Institute's work. The 30 person membership of this Council, unlike any other NLC committee or council, is composed of not only local elected officials but also youth members and representatives from major national organizations concerned about children and families. Five (5) youth members were selected from a nationally competitive application and interview process. As shared in his
essay and application, Rush believes, "NLC's ability to conjure a connection of communities for the betterment of cities is exceedingly important. The incorporation of youth into the governing structures of society is quite crucial for the future of society. Training of the future
leaders of the world should start early. Through NLC's youth engagement, we will be able to retain the good qualities of governance and reform and learn from its mistakes. The world is a complicated place, and in order to decipher it, we must start early."

Macon-Bibb County attendees at the 2016 City Summit included Alisha Duhart, Youth Commission Coordinator; Youth Commissioner Madison Williams (Mount de Sales Academy); Youth Commissioner William Myles McKay (Westside High School); Barbara Bivins, Youth Commission Chaperone; Mayor Pro Tem Bert Bivins; Youth Commissioner Veronica Zambrano (Rutland High School); Youth Commissioner Rushabh Patel (Stratford
Academy); and Assistant County Manager Charles Coney.

YEF youth board members have full membership in the Council and are placed in the role for their viewpoints not just on youth related matters, but on all topics that come before the Council. In its fifteen years of existence, YEF has contributed greatly to the strategic direction of the National League of Cities. NLC is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. As such, NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. Rush was fortunate to represent Macon-Bibb County as a Youth Delegate in Pittsburgh during the National League of Cities 2016 City Summit (formerly known as the Congress of Cities) this past November. During the convening, more than 3,000 local leaders (mayors, councilmembers, and city staff) networked, discussed city priorities, and learned best practices. The conference offered informative workshops, mobile tours, and education sessions at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Speakers such as Terry Bradshaw, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback and sports broadcaster at FOX; Candy Crowley, award-winning journalist who served as CNN's chief political correspondent; and Vernice "Flygirl" Armour, America's First African American female combat pilot headlined and provided phenominal inspiration to the Conference.

Macon-Bibb County delegates on stage with National League of Cities Board of Directors Member and Union City, Georgia Mayor Vince Williams at the 2016 City Summit.

Ironically, the official notice regarding Rush's YEF board membership came yesterday while he was representing Macon-Bibb County at the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) 2017 Mayors' Day Conference which took place January 20-23 in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis. Over 700 Georgia elected officials advocated for cities, enhanced their understanding of government, expanded and debated policy matters, and attended the culminating legislative networking breakfast with updates from Governor Nathan Deal, Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, and Speaker of the House David Ralston. U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson has been a long-standing attendee of the conference, but was unable to attend. In his stead, a personal video communicated his outlook and commitment to Georgia. For its second year, the GMA offered a Youth Conference inside of the larger conference with limited city delegations from across the state. Macon-Bibb County's selection of five (5) delegates was driven by a competitive essay contest using the theme, "If I Were Mayor..." Rush wrote in his essay, "If I were mayor, I would ensure the livelihood of the city. As mayor, I would not allow for any part of the city to decline. The unification of all the people in the city would be the ultimate goal. I would invest in the hearth and connectedness of the city. I would like to create a close-knit community, where there is harmony and success. From the economy, to recreation, to opportunity, I would make sure the city is the 'full package.' If I were mayor, I would do everything in my power to better the city for the people." From these comments, it is no wonder that his leadership and perspective has afforded him representation locally, at state conferences, and now on the national stage.

Youth Delegates at the National League of Cities 2016 City Summit networking and collaborating during their break-out sessions.

National League of Cities 2016 City Summit Keynote Speaker Terry Bradshaw, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback and sports broadcaster at FOX with NLC outgoing President Melodee Colbert-Kean (Joplin, Mo. Councilmember and former Mayor) and incoming President Matt Zone (Councilmember, Cleveland, Ohio).

Membership on NLC’s Council of Youth, Education, and Families is an opportunity for youth to have an ongoing voice in the work of NLC including its national efforts to promote youth participation in civic affairs. The Council provides advisory support to the NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) which grew out of the belief that to thrive, cities need strong leaders who make the education, safety and health of the families and children in their communities a citywide priority. With expertise in early childhood success, education and expanded learning, health and community wellness, reengagement of disconnected youth, and family economic success, the YEF Institute is the go-to place for city leaders seeking to improve outcomes for children and families. According to Laura Furr, Program Manager, "As a new NLC YEF Council Board Member, Rushabh will acquire new governmental skills and knowledge, develop a greater sense of the public sector, and forge meaningful connections to other youth and adults. We welcome him and look forward to his representation."

Macon-Bibb County Youth Delegates to the National League of Cities 2016 City Summit with Keynote Speaker Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s First African American Female Combat Pilot.

National League of Cities 2016 City Summit Attendees from across the State of Georgia--Alan Dickerson, Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Director, Training and Member Services; LaGrange Council Member Norma Tucker (also Chair of the GMA Municipal Training Board; Unknown; NLC Board of Directors Member and Union City Mayor Vince Williams; Union City Councilman Brian Jones; Atlanta Council Member Joyce Sheperd; Bill Thornton, GMA Deputy Executive Director; NLC Board of Directors Member and Savannah Alderman Van Johnson.

Rushabh Patel is the son of Dr. Dipesh & Mrs. Alpa Patel. He is a sophomore at Stratford Academy and the captain of the debate team which has been ranked in the top 100 in the nation. Rush is a member of the Model United Nations team which takes policymaking to tournaments on the international level. Believing he has a strong voice and the ability to get things done in an organized, structured fashion, he is passionate about continually developing his leadership skills because his generation will be the leaders soon.

National League of Cities 2016 City Summit Attendees from across the State of Georgia--Alan Dickerson, Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Director, Training and Member Services; LaGrange Council Member Norma Tucker (also Chair of the GMA Municipal Training Board; Unknown; NLC Board of Directors Member and Union City Mayor Vince Williams; Union City Councilman Brian Jones; Atlanta Council Member Joyce Sheperd; Bill Thornton, GMA Deputy Executive Director; NLC Board of Directors Member and Savannah Alderman Van Johnson.

Macon-Bibb County Youth Commissioners William Myles McKay and Rushabh Patel at the podium during the National League of Cities 2016 City Summit.

Pittsburgh’s 56th Annual “Light Up Night” took over downtown with music
and merriment kicking off the holiday season. Over 500K people attended.

The Macon-Bibb County Youth Commission is a locally administered cohort of the Georgia Civic Awareness Program for Students (GCAPS) developed by the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) staff and county officials to address the need for increased civic involvement and awareness among our state's youth. The Bibb County Board of Commissioners established its program in 2012 with a $3,750 grant from ACCG. The 2014-2015 cohort was the first under the newly consolidated Macon-Bibb County government. We look forward to even more progress with the 2016-2017 cohort. To date, over 100 students have participated in the program. Youth gain knowledge about their local governments through hands-on learning experiences and witness firsthand the decision making process. The objective of GCAPS is simple: to educate young citizens about the importance of being actively conscious of their local government environment and the opportunities available in the public sector. GCAPS provides civic education by exposing high school students to the role that local government plays and by introducing them to the leaders who make local governments work. As a result of GCAPS, youth become engaged in their communities and become better informed citizens, they also learn valuable leadership skills and have the opportunity to create and implement civic awareness projects. Macon-Bibb County's cohort is administered by Assistant County Manager Charles Coney with Mayor Pro Tem Bert Bivins as its Ambassador.

National League of Cities 2016 City Summit Keynote Speaker Candy Crowley, award-winning journalist who served as CNN's chief political correspondent with the Macon-Bibb County Delegation following her powerful delivery.

Around the Pittsburgh City Hall dais during our Learning Session regarding City of Pittsburgh Government hosted by Council President Bruce A. Kraus (rear center) and City Clerk Mary Beth Doheny (front right).

Examining historic documents in the Pittsburgh City Hall vault.

Macon-Bibb County Delegation in a private tour of Mayor William Peduto’s office at the Pittsburgh City County Building.

 

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P.O. Box 446, Macon, • GA 31202 * Ofc:  478-745-7265
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Rushabh (Rush) Patel