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Draper Journal

Youth council bolsters spirits of local first responders

Aug 03, 2020 10:53AM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton

By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]

In the time of COVID, creativity is required of everyone. So when the newly installed members of the Draper City Mayor’s Youth Council (DCMYC) realized they wouldn’t be putting on what is traditionally their first service project of the year, the Draper Days children’s parade, they chose an of-the-moment service project to show their appreciation for Draper’s fire and police departments.

With goody bags full of drinks, candy bars, chips and notes of support, members of the DCMYC executive committee visited local fire and police departments on a hot July morning. “Today we’re trying to keep it to a small group of eight to 10 leaders of the youth council because of COVID,” said Anna Page, the group’s new youth mayor. 

Page said “positivity” was the focus of this project. Beyond limiting the delivery to a small group of mask-wearing youth because of the pandemic, special care was also taken not to allow the chocolate candy bars to sit in warm cars too long before being accepted into the air-conditioned fire and police department buildings. Youth and their adult advisers made several trips, carrying full boxes from their cars to the doors of the departments, after presenting fire and police personnel with posters and words of support. 

“We’re trying to start the year despite all the coronavirus limitations,” said Valerie Witzel, pro tem mayor of the youth council. 

The 70 youth who make up the council synchronized a socially-distanced drop off of donations from their members at Draper Park the night before the project. Those donations were then organized into more than 130 goody bags for local first responders: 44 bags for police department personnel and 88 for fire department staff. New members of the DCMYC also received their T-shirts for the year at the drop off since they’d not been able to safely assemble in person.

“You guys are awesome. Our community has been so supportive every step of the way,” Fire Chief Clint Smith told the youth and their adult advisers upon receipt of the goodies. 

Smith went on to say they’d just sent four members of their department to Ely, Nevada that morning in anticipation of helping with extreme fire activity in the area. In other words, their work extends far beyond the city limits of Draper. Smith said those firefighters could be gone for up to 14 days for that assignment. 

“We are treated like gold (in Draper),” said Lieutenant Dave Harris of the Draper Police Department as he, Police Chief John Eining, and fellow officers received the outpouring of goodies and support from the youth.