County Historical Commissions (CHC) can make a meaningful impact on communities by providing opportunities for children and young adults to cultivate a passion for history. When managed effectively, these opportunities enable students to have a greater appreciation for the important role CHCs play in preserving and promoting the county’s historic resources.
Actively Engaging Youth
Many CHCs have created ways for students to get involved in ongoing programs. Deaf Smith CHC invited young adults to research and install markers in association with the Quanah Parker Trail. Brown CHC asked a local 17-year-old to advise the CHC on ways to attract young people to preservation work. Students at local universities can be a great resource for CHCs, as well. Walker CHC is collaborating with Sam Houston State University to host an intern in the future.
Montgomery CHC took an agressive approach to youth outreach by establishing a Youth Advisory Board. High school students serving on the board were selected by their teachers; however, the board is governed by its own mission statement and bylaws. One task of the Youth Advisory Board is to “generate fresh and fun ideas for projects that serve the [County] Historical Commission and the citizens of Montgomery County.” The Youth Advisory Board meets monthly and participates in community events, such as the annual Montgomery Candlelight Tour of Homes.
Although youth outreach is challenging, CHCs are finding ways to connect students to local history. Step up your CHC’s youth outreach efforts by creating ways for young people to get involved in programs and projects. Encourage active engagement by designing CHC projects that allow youth to create and manage portions of the projects. By "owning" projects, students become stakeholders in the preservation of historic resources, bringing them closer to an understanding of true stewardship. Also, remember that the Texas Local Government Code states that CHC appointees must “be individuals who broadly reflect the age, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the county.” Engaging students in CHC work is the first step towards diversifying the age range of your CHC.
Thank you Brown CHC, Deaf Smith CHC, Montgomery CHC, and Walker CHC for sharing the ways your CHC connects with the youth in your county.
More information found on the web links below.