The city of Greencastle wants to know what students think about the city.
Cue the 2011 Greencastle Youth Engagement Summit (YES), an "event designed to pick and choose things more meaningful for students," explained Greencastle City Planner Shannon Norman, one of the minds behind the upcoming event.
Shannon describes the summit as a place where "at some level, we engage students in real dialogue on how Greencastle can be a really meaningful place to live."
The 2011 Greencastle summit, which will be held Feb. 27 in Greencastle City Hall, has been slowly evolving since 2008 when 100 residents from different organizations and professional backgrounds participated in the Greencastle Community Summit. Discussions focused on identifying the biggest issues facing the city and finding viable options to cure the problems highlighted by the summit. Many neighborhood committees and the evolving sustainability program resulted from the 2008 summit, but concern for the voice of the youth in Greencastle led to the first Youth Engagement Summit in 2009.
"There are many assumptions about what [the youth] want in a community," said Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray. "It seemed important to get input from them directly."
In 2009, the city conducted an online survey prior to the summit in which roughly 300 Greencastle youth participated to provide feedback about what they do in Greencastle. The information was consumer oriented and aimed at helping local businesses get an idea of Greencastle youths' buying patterns. The results of the 2009 summit indicated young people wanted to see social gathering places developed within the community.
This year's survey has accommodated these needs and now includes questions like "What interests you in Greencastle?" and "How often do you make use of public places in Greencastle?" Since Jan. 10, 230 youth residents have filled the online survey preparing for the upcoming summit.
"Ultimately, we want to know, ‘How do we make your community a better place to live?'" Norman said.
This question is not reserved for just the middle school and high school students of Greencastle. Murray stressed the importance of involvement of both DePauw University and Ivy Tech Community College students.
"This is your home for four years," Murray said, "You should not just define your experience on what happens at DePauw's campus."
The 2011 Greencastle YES event is open to anyone, but spots must be reserved, as lunch will be served to participants. Anyone interested in attending the event can contact Norman. Students can take the current online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/jnxjbhj.