Volunteer director hands over reins of successful Midvale Ambassador Program, youth city council to begin
Aug 29, 2019 10:10AM
By Julie Slama
Pictured along with the Midvale City Council and Mayor Robert Hale, Midvale Youth Ambassadors for the 2019-20 school year are Zay Salih, Yovanni Valdez, Katheryn Lopez, Adamaris Gonzalez, Autumn Thelen and John Zhao. (Photo courtesy of Midvale City)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Never one to be in the spotlight and quick to give others credit, Midvale Youth Ambassador Volunteer Director Candy Tippetts quietly turned over the advising this spring and summer after seeing her 15th set of ambassadors complete the program.
“Former Mayor (JoAnn) Seghini started the program with the Midvale Arts Council and gave it to me as an assignment,” Tippetts said after her 2018-19 ambassadors, Kosha Hansen, Morgan Miller and Amelia Slama-Catron successfully completed projects for the Midvale community. “I’ve loved working with kids in this program. They’re amazing, intelligent, gifted and while I’ll miss working with them, I won’t miss the parades. Every summer, it’s a huge commitment for our ambassadors to be in nine parades, every weekend of the summer, and after 15 years of coordinating that, I’m about paraded out.”
Tippetts, who will still stay involved with the planning and zoning commission as appointed by the mayor, said the city used to hold a Miss Midvale contest, but former Mayor Seghini decided to start the youth ambassador program to benefit both males and females and to emphasize service.
“It’s been very beneficial to allow the kids to serve,” said Tippetts, who sets an example for the youth ambassadors as she regularly volunteers with the Ronald McDonald House, Columbus Center and Best Seat in the House. “Not only does it say a lot on their resumes for jobs and college, but it benefits the city and citizens as well.”
Through the years, ambassadors age 16 to 24, who either live or attend school in Midvale, have created platforms of awareness and projects that impact several areas such as diabetes awareness, recycling efforts, mentoring and tutoring youth, outreach for seniors, vaccination programs, suicide awareness, teen pregnancy, skin cancer awareness, arts and music education, helping Latino youth achieve higher education, and science and technology education.
Tippetts, who until now has been Midvale Youth Ambassadors only director, can recall stories about every youth ambassador and lessons they’ve learned.
“The first year of the program, one ambassador wanted to brighten our community and held a holiday light contest after helping the city decorate for the season. We’ve had students who have become doctors, nurses, attorneys, entrepreneurs and continue to provide service. We’ve had former ambassadors go do service in Africa or do groundbreaking work to develop medical devices. Every one of the ambassadors have completed their projects in the 15 years of the program. It has really benefitted our community and it has taught our ambassadors valuable lessons that will carry them through adulthood,” she said, adding that after their year of service, youth ambassadors receive $1,000 from the scholarship program.
This year, the program is under Midvale City’s communications director Laura Magness, who after interviews, invited Zay Salih, Yovanni Valdez, Katheryn Lopez, Adamaris Gonzalez, Autumn Thelen, and John Zhao as youth ambassadors for the 2019-20 school year. This past summer, they’ve waved on parade floats and helped with Harvest Day activities. During the school year, they will be ready to assist during the year with ribbon cuttings, and in addition to working on their platforms, Magness said they will help spread the word about Census 2020 and the importance to complete it as well.
They also will have the special task of giving input on the formation of a youth city council, which Magness said may debut this fall.
“Our youth don’t always understand how local cities work, so we’ll have speaker and departments from each agency explain their part and discuss what they do,” said Magness, who oversaw a youth council when she worked previously in California. “We can talk about impacts of our city, such as Jordan Bluffs, and while they learn how the city works, they can provide us with youth perspective. It’s an opportunity to empower our youth.”