Native Youth – Page 63 – UNITY, Inc.

Duties of Advisors

Advisors are key to having effective youth councils. The type of advisor will determine to a great extent the success of the youth council.

To be successful, an advisor must have the respect, trust, and confidence of youth council members as well as of their parents and officials of the sponsoring organization.

An effective advisor is:

  • Trustworthy
  • Dedicated and determined
  • Sensitive
  • Sociable
  • Honest
  • Responsible
  • Courteous
  • Persistent and consistent
  • Patient
  • Understanding
  • Respectful
  • Reliable
  • A good listener
  • Open-minded

Advisors assume a variety of roles and responsibilities. They may be a guide, a counselor, a motivator, a promoter, or a coach. However, the advisor’s primary role is that of a facilitator.

An advisor must be sure that youth council officers understand their roles and insist that they know how to conduct an effective meeting. Although the primary responsibility for bringing youth council projects and activities to successful completion rests with the youth involved, the advisor will be called upon to supply a great deal of information and guidance.

An advisor takes steps to keep partisan politics out of youth council meetings and activities. They set a positive example by not speaking against elected leaders or officials of the sponsoring organization and insisting youth council leaders do likewise.

Advisors perform other duties including:

  • monitoring funds,
  • filing annual reports to the UNITY office,
  • obtaining medical release forms when youth take trips,
  • serving as liaison between youth and youth council’s sponsoring organization,
  • encouraging active participating of each youth council member,
  • encouraging the goals of UNITY,
  • creating opportunities for youth councils, and
  • assuming the responsibilities and duties of a chaperon.

At youth council meetings, advisors should help develop effective relationships among youth. An advisor should promote communication techniques that make youth council members feel better about themselves, help them express their feelings, and encourage them to talk in a setting which is free from threats or fear, such as a talking circle.

The advisor monitors meetings and activities to ensure that the youth council does not become a clique or an elitist group and to ensure that a few of the members don’t dominate every meeting or get all the media attention.

An advisor demonstrates trust. As trust develops among youth council members and the advisor, it is much easier for individual members to learn how their behavior affects the rest of the group and to modify this behavior if necessary or appropriate.

Advisors should always keep in mind that the youth council belongs to the youth. The advisor assists members in every way possible, but the meetings and projects are planned by members. The advisor must not misuse the youth council by pushing their personal agenda upon the members.

The personal conduct of an advisor is extremely important – not only in youth council meetings – but at all times. The advisor is a friend who relates well with youth, but does not try to be a youth. They must know where to “draw the line.” The advisor is a role model and one who is entrusted by parents to work with their sons and daughters. The quickest way to destroy a youth council is for an advisor to do something that might violate this trust relationship.

The advisor holds a very challenging position because youth council members will model the leadership they demonstrate. Ultimately, a youth council’s success depends greatly on the attitude, commitment, and overall effectiveness of an advisor.

In short, a good advisor serves as…..

Facilitator Consultant Teacher Observer Promoter Positive Role Model

When possible, an advisory council should be formed from representatives of various youth-serving organizations to assist with youth council programs and development.

Duties of Committees

A committee may be appointed, chosen from volunteers, or elected by the members of the entire group. The size of committees may vary according to the project and the scope of work to be accomplished. Smaller groups work more effectively. Five to seven members constitute a workable number. Committees should be large enough to represent a variety of opinions, yet small enough to make meeting schedules possible.

Types of Committees

  • Standing: Usually elected or appointed for the entire year. Some examples are programs, elections and membership, and social committees. As a Network Affiliate, possible standing committees would be environment, heritage, community service, and healthy lifestyles.
  • Special: Appointed for a specific purpose. When the specific purpose is accomplished, the committees may be appointed to investigate or to act for the entire group.
  • Executive: Usually composed of officers, chairpersons of committees or an elected board. This group assists in planning meetings and initiating and organizing activities. Reports from this group are compiled by the secretary from the minutes of their meetings.

    Committee members should:

  • Understand the purposes of the committee and the methods for achieving and evaluating activities.
  • Share the responsibility with the leader in making the meeting successful.
  • Understand their responsibility in the group and to their constituents.
  • Understand parliamentary procedure and other leadership techniques.
  • Be interested, enthusiastic, and able to honestly follow through with assigned duties.
  • Be willing to place group objectives above personal objectives and be able to accept the majority position and support it.

    Committee reports should include the following information:

  • Name of the committee, name of chairperson, and names of the members.
  • Date that work began, number of meetings held, and list of supplies with the amount, cost, and where obtained.
  • Committee activities.
  • Evaluation.
  • Committee suggestions.
  • Signature of chairperson or committee spokesperson or secretary.

Duties of Members

Members

  • Show respect for other members by being on time and bringing necessary materials to meeting
  • Accept responsibility of sharing in the business at hand when a meeting convenes. Understand that participation is essential.
  • Try to get other members to express their ideas for the benefit of all, even if it means less time for presenting personal ideas.
  • Give constant, active attention to the group’s activity during the meetin
  • Know the purpose of the meeting and help keep the ideas on track to get things don
  • Earn the right to give constructive criticism freely by accepting it.
  • Check on assigned responsibilities and receive guidance and authority to carry them ou
  • Accept the responsibility of youth council membership by actively participating in all organized meetings, committees and activities.

Officers

President

  1. Before the meeting
    • Plans the meeting and prepares the agenda with the help of other officers, committee chairs, and the advisor. He or she includes what is to be accomplished and what is to be achieved. Together they determine the type of meeting and procedure to be used.
    • Delegates responsibilities.
    • Checks notifications, reports, and business items.
    • Organizes meeting place, equipment, etc.
    • Arrives in the proper frame of mind, knows that planning and preparation are complete.
  2. During the meeting
    • Calls the meeting to order.
    • Follows the agenda and addresses items in logical order.
    • Has a working knowledge of parliamentary procedure and other group techniques.
    • Organizes and directs the work of committees through a chairperson.
    • Keeps a favorable climate in the meeting.
    • Encourages and sets an example in leadership, citizenship, and courtesy.
    • Listens attentively.
    • Praises and thanks individuals and groups.
    • Summarizes and evaluates often.
    • Makes the meeting the group’s meeting.
  3. After the meeting
    • Evaluates the meeting and the achievements.
    • Checks reports and minutes.
    • Sets the machinery in motion for the next meeting.
    • Reports to and consults with youth council officers and sponsoring organization.
    • Lists items to be researched.
    • Checks work of committees.
    • Follows through on recommendations and actions taken.
    • Prepares for future activities.
    • Helps see that the meeting room is put back in order.

Vice-President

  • Has the same requirements and knowledge as the president.
  • Is able and willing to take over for the president.
  • Has an important, specific committee activity assignment.
  • Can serve as the most significant leader within the committee structure.

Secretary

  1. Before the meeting
    • Notifies members of the meeting.
    • Assists with the preparation of the agenda.
    • Has neatly typed minutes of the last meeting.
    • Assists various committees in drafting and distributing any correspondence.
  2. During the meeting
    • Takes attendance and keeps permanent records.
    • Takes complete minutes including name of organization, date, and place of meeting, who presided, old and new business, committee reports, motions, and results.
    • Reads minutes from previous meeting.
    • Assists the president.

Treasurer

  • Keeps accurate, complete records of all money collected and spent.
  • Prepares a budget for youth council approval, usually with assistance of a committee and advisor.
  • Presents reports regularly to council and sponsoring organization.
  • Prepares an annual fiscal report.

Constitutions and Resolutions

Writing and adopting a constitution is an important step in getting a youth council established and organized.

To help simplify this task a sample constitution is available for use by organizing groups by following the link below.  Please keep in mind that organizers are encouraged to discuss and carefully consider all of the constitution’s provisions and ensure they meet the needs of the youth council. Once adopted they should be followed and subjected to frequent review to make sure they continue to provide the governing structure needed for effective youth council operation.

Download a Sample Constitution by following the link provided in the table below.

Once the organizing group has completed the necessary steps to get organized, download and complete the Youth Council Application form and then send to UNITY.

Download a copy of the Youth Council Application by following the link provided in the table below.

Organizing Youth Councils

Organize Youth and Adults

  • Youth decide to organize. They sign a petition or letter indicating their interest in and support for a youth council. Petition or letter is presented to tribe or sponsoring organization such as a school.
  • A steering committee is formed. Steering committee members include youth and adults.
  • Sponsoring organization designates a youth coordinator or advisor. This may be a paid or volunteer position. This individual could be a tribal employee, teacher, parent, or community member.

Form Your Council

    • A resolution is drafted and presented to the tribal government or supporting organization for consideration. The resolution is designed to ensure that the youth council is part of the supporting organization’s permanent structure. (A sample resolution is included.)
    • The steering committee develops bylaws for the youth council. Keep in mind that the council is tailored to meet the needs of the youth and the values and traditions of the respective tribe or supporting organization. (A sample set of bylaws is included).
    • Youth council bylaws are approved by members and then presented to tribal officials or sponsoring organization members for their approval.
    • An advisory council is formed. Parents, elders, concerned adults, and representatives of youth-serving organizations may be invited to serve. One or two advisors are selected to serve as primary advisors.
    • Elections are conducted for youth council officers.
    • Youth conduct meetings and develop their course of direction.

Join the UNITY Network

After your youth council is organized, members vote and join the UNITY Network. Copies of youth council bylaws and resolution need to be on file with the UNITY office. Information on joining the Network and affiliation forms are available on the web site at www.unityinc.org.

A resolution should be submitted to and approved by the sponsoring tribe, village or organization. Adapt the following sample resolution to the particular needs of the organizing group and type on letterhead, fill in the blanks and choose appropriate terms such as reservation, village, or organization. Once the resolution is passed, send a copy to the UNITY office.

Organizing a Youth Council Packet

Download the pdf file linked below for a detailed explanation of how to establish a youth council.

Download the pdf: “How to Establish a UNITY Youth Council”.

2010 – 2011 National UNITY Council Executive Committee

J’Shon Lee, White Mountain Apache, a student at Arizona State University and Victor Fuentes, Muscogee (Creek) have been re-elected to lead the National UNITY Council Executive Committee.

Others elected during the 2010 National UNITY Conference in San Diego were Candice Romero, Yavapai-Apache, as Vice President and Amira Madison, Aquinnah Wampanoag, as Secretary.

At-Large members of the Executive Committee are:  Leslie Lockear from Red Springs, North Carolina; Kristen Dosela from Laveen, Arizona; Katelyn Jacobs from Bolton, North Carolina; Jared Massey from Fort Apache, Arizona; Josh Locklear from Maxton, north Carolina; and Jeffrey Duarte from Chilmark, Massachusetts.

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Spotlight on the Anadarko UNITY Council

View the Anadarko UNITY Council Photo Gallery for a collection of pictures of this outstanding youth group.

The Anadarko UNITY Council (AUC) started in 2006 and has become very active in the National UNITY Network both locally and on the national level.  The mission of the AUC is to provide positive youth leadership development through local, regional, national, and international activities.  The combination of special projects, leadership training and networking is a key component to the Anadarko UNITY Council experience.

When asked why the youth of Anadarko have a UNITY Council, the general consensus of the council is: “UNITY gives us something to be a part of! We can stay active in the community and stay out of trouble.”

One member stated at a meeting, “I love UNITY!  If it wasn’t for UNITY I would just be at home watching TV or getting into trouble!”

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New Committee Formed for Important Job

The National UNITY Council (NUC) Executive Committee established the Committee of Area Representatives at a business meeting that took place during the recent UNITY conference. Directly following this action, eleven native youth were elected to serve on the newly created committee by the vote of youth council representatives, who had convened for this purpose in area caucuses.

The committee’s primary purpose is to evaluate the council’s constitution and bylaws and propose amendments that will ensure the Executive Committee’s makeup fairly represents the NUC’s broad geographically distributed membership. The Committee of Area Representatives’ recommendations are to be presented to the national council for consideration at least sixty days prior to the vote for adoption, which will take place during the 2011 National UNITY Conference.

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