- How did COYAC get started?
- What is the purpose of COYAC?
- How is COYAC organized?
- How is COYAC conducted?
- How is COYAC funded?
- Who runs COYAC?
- How can I contact my youth representative?
- What is the role of council members?
- What is the time commitment of members on the council?
- Who can apply?
- How do I apply?
Representative Ellen Roberts sponsored legislation in 2008 (CO HB 08-1157) to establish a youth advisory council for the state legislature. Colorado is one of 10 states with similar organizations.
COYAC was created to give young people a voice in creating the state policies that affect them. According to the enacting legislation, the Council was created “to examine, evaluate and discuss the issues, interests and needs affecting Colorado youth now and in the future and to formally advise and make recommendations to elected officials regarding those issues.”
40 students serve on the council, representing the 35 state senate districts, and 5 at-large seats to ensure diversity on the council. The council elects a Youth Co-Chair, Youth Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer who serve with a Legislative Co-Chair and Legislative Vice-Chair to lead the council.
The Legislature provided limited funding to cover travel expenses for members in the initial legislation. The Colorado Civic Canopy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing civic involvement, agreed to partner with the Legislature to house and staff the Council.
Although COYAC is provided with limited state funds to reimburse travel expenses for Council members, the council relies on the majority of our support to come from private sources. Lead sponsors include the El Pomar Foundation, BP America, Children’s Hospital, and the La Plata Electric Association. Other partners include Xcel Energy, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Aponte & Busam, and the League of Women Voters. The Council also has a finance committee that assists members to investigate other local sources of funds at the local level. If you are interested in funding the council, please contact COYAC Treasurer Janet Chen by email, email@example.com, or cell phone (720).284.9063.
The COYAC is intended to be a youth-led Council. Within the framework outlined by the enabling legislation, which provides basic guidance for leadership and structure, youth members will determine policy priorities, develop a work plan, and provide the content for annual reports, surveys, youth testimony, and the COYAC web page.
You can send your youth representative by sending them a message on the website, or contacting them personally.
Members of the Colorado Youth Advisory Council have the unique opportunity to shape Colorado’s future by bringing the voice of youth to the capital. Members conduct forums, surveys, and community meetings around the sate to gather input from youth. Approximately once every three months the council meets to discuss the legislation and policy issues affecting Colorado. Twice during the Legislative term, members meet with state legislators, the Governor, and other public officials to share ideas and perspectives.
Along with attending the four meetings of the council every year, members participate in online forums and discussions, conference calls, and other meetings with each other and members of the community to provide youth voice.
The Colorado Youth Advisory Council is open to Colorado youth between ages 14 and 19, who have the ability to serve on the council for a two year term.
Just download and fill out the application and the recommendation form. You can also fill out an application online. Applications and reccomendations can be faxed to 303.292.2061 or mailed to The Colorado Youth Advisory Council c/o The Civic Canopy, 1625 E. 35th Ave, Denver, CO 80205.