Alainn Hanson began working on a potential youth commission her freshman year. Now, during her senior year at Red Wing High School, the commission has finally come to fruition.

On Wednesday, Dec. 16, staff Liaison Helen Korbel called the meeting to order.

Like all boards and commissions, the first meeting was organization focused. Along with setting a meeting schedule and adopting rules of order, the 11 member commission voted to select a chair, vice chair and pro tem.

Hanson was unanimously elected chair. Molly Bradley, grade 11, was elected vice chair. She explained that one of her main goals for the commission is to work to aid Red Wing in becoming more environmentally sustainable.

Matthew Lu, grade 11, was voted pro tem. He quoted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying “‘we cannot always build a future for our youth, but we can always build our youth for the future.’ I believe it is the duty of the Red Wing city to connect and listen to the youth and help us build a future. And, as members of the Youth Commission, our job will be to connect and bridge that gap between the adult world and the youth world.”

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Mayor Sean Dowse attended the virtual meeting to welcome the commission members.

"Tonight is the culmination of years of research, planning, advocacy and recruitment to bring you, the voice of the emerging generation of leaders, into the halls of municipal government," he told the students. "It is a proud moment for the city of Red Wing.”

The commission will meet once a month from January through June. Unlike most board and commission terms that begin and end in January, the terms for members of the Youth Commission will begin and end in June to comply with the school year. This will also ensure a seat will still be empty for half the year when a member graduates.

Term lengths for the Youth Commission are set at three years, but the matter will be brought before the Charter Commission to shorten terms to one year. Students will be able to serve a maximum of five terms.

Hanson called the meeting adjourned after discussion of creating a January workshop for the commissioners. The workshop will be used to plan topics that commission members hope to cover in 2021.

"Tonight is a culmination, yes. But I think that it’s also a beginning, the beginning of a more responsive and nimble government,” Dowse said.