USO Rota's Youth Advisory Council

Team USO Rota is thrilled with the participation and engagement of the first ever USO Youth Advisory Council. The Council was created with the mission to support our student community. At the beginning of the 2021/22 school year, applications were accepted and a Council of seven was chosen. The Council kicked off their first inaugural meeting the end of September. During this meeting, USO Rota held a volunteer orientation and introduced the Council to the USO mission and core values. The charter was also reviewed, and the Council voted on their leadership roles of Youth Mayor and Secretary. Although the Charter mentioned meeting four times per school year, the Council was ambitious and requested to meet and execute at least one program monthly during the school year.

In October, the Council launched their first event with a football toss competition at the David Glasgow Farragut (DGF) High School Homecoming game. Candy and prizes were provided to the participants and winners of the competition. With some encouragement, the Youth Mayor spoke on the microphone and “hyped up” the crowd to participate. With each turn on the mic, he became more comfortable and confident speaking in front of the crowd.

In November, the Council voted to support the homecoming dance by assembling candy bags to be given to the attendees. The Council utilized Canva, a graphic design program, to create gift tags wishing participants a good time. Also in November, the Council chose to support the whole NAVSTA Rota community by hosting a s’mores bar at the Great Navy Campout. Although, there were a few challenges, the Council exhibited USO core values by collaborating and being innovative when the s’mores set-up had an unforeseen adjustment last minute. The Council quickly adapted and shifted the layout, saving the evening with their ingenuity and awesome attitudes.

The Council met in late November for their Candy Cane Christmas program and decorated candy canes for the over 420 DGF Elementary School students. On December 17th, the Council created a magical atmosphere by dressing in costumes, playing holiday music, and handed out the candy canes to the ecstatic children and teachers as they departed for winter break.

For the month of January, the Council voted to recognize teachers at DGF. The original plan was for the Council to wake up early on the student’s day off to serve teachers a hearty and healthy breakfast before they begin a long day of training and conferences. Due to the uptick in COVID cases, the Council regrouped and changed course with to-go breakfast boxes to keep their educators safe.

Throughout these past five months, USO Rota has witnessed the Council grow by stepping out of their comfort zones, learn to plan, and execute programming within a budget, speak publicly, create marketing materials, and follow-through on large-scale projects. We’re truly proud of how much the Youth Advisory Council has already accomplished and the impact they have made in the community.

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