District welcomes 2018 Youth Commission
The Board of Directors appointed and welcomed the District’s fourth Youth Commission on Dec. 13. The 13-member Commission is comprised of teens from seventh through eleventh grade, who will help advise staff on what is important to youth and teens who live and play in the area. This year’s Commission includes eight new members, and is co-chaired by Ethan Perry and Elise Mutz. The Commission's secretary is Aubrey Weaver.
Top goals of the Commission are to discuss and suggest possible solutions about issues that young people face and to provide opportunities to develop youth as future leaders. The Commission also promotes healthy living, including overall physical, emotional and mental well-being.
In 2017, the Commission planned and hosted successful fundraising tournaments at Colorado Journey Mini Golf. Proceeds helped allow the commissioners to attend a ropes challenge course together in Castle Rock.
Last year, the eleven-member commission volunteered 88 hours through District-related events such as 5K races, Hawk Quest at South Platte Park and the District’s signature Halloween event, Spooktacular. And, to connect with the older generation, the Youth Commission organized a prom for seniors at a local assistant living facility. The event was complete with music, dancing, milkshakes and a photo booth.
Additionally, this year’s Youth Commission wants to conduct more fundraisers and initiate projects related to trail and park clean-up and the Children’s Kindness Network.
Meet our 2018 Youth Commission:
Aidan Luter (new) is a sophomore at Arapahoe High School. He grew up in the South Suburban District, and he likes to hike and run in his free time.
Alex Peepgrass is a junior at Arapahoe High School. An equestrian, she’s performed for six years with the Westernaires, a precision horse-mounted youth drill team. She currently participates on two teams and serves as a mentor for younger riders.
Aubrey Weaver is a freshmen at Heritage High School. She is involved in Student Government and recently was selected to attend the Continental League Leadership Conference.
Danny Forebaugh (new) is a seventh grader at Euclid Middle School. He is a 4.0 GPA student and student council member. His family moved to Colorado from Chicago in 2016. Danny loves living in Littleton, and he feels it is important to add his viewpoint and effort into his new community. Danny’s true passion is snowboarding and hanging out with good friends, and he also plays competitive baseball and basketball.
Elise Mutz is a junior at Heritage High school. During the past two years, Elise was an assistant coach for the District’s youth cross country program. She is interested in volunteering in the community with South Suburban, as well as participating in sports and activities.
Elizabeth (Libby) Stroup is a junior at Heritage High School. In 2008, Libby won a ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award for a business she started making doll products. She enjoys horseback riding at sunrise.
Ethan Perry (new) is a junior at Heritage High School. He is highly involved in his school’s music program as a bassoon player, and drum major for the marching band. Ethan is president of the school’s Technology Student Association, and he is also an Eagle Scout with Troop 263.
Garrett Arbuckle (new) is a junior at Heritage High School. He enjoys volleyball and spending time with his family. He is involved with school and enjoys everything he does.
Gitanjali (Anjali) Rao (new) is a seventh grader at STEM School Highlands Ranch. She moved here from Nashville, Tenn., in 2017. Gitanjali loves to play piano and read, and her favorite subject is science. She wants to be involved in the Youth Commission to promote STEM and start a club that teaches young children about kindness.
Grace Perry (new) is a freshman at Heritage High School. She is thrilled to be a part of this year’s South Suburban Youth Commission. Grace is very involved in and outside of school. She is the reporter of her school’s Technology Student Association, and loves engineering as well as being a part of her high school’s music program. Grace plays the flute, and also participates in marching band and symphonic band.
Janie Egan is a junior at Arapahoe High school and loves to spend time outdoors. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School for mountaineering and is also a member of Arapahoe’s lacrosse and mountain biking teams.
Josh Engelman (new) is a junior at Heritage High School. An avid fitness enthusiast, Josh completed South Suburban’s obstacle course race in September wearing a weighted vest!
Maddie Westall (new) is a seventh grader at Platte River Academy, and she enjoys playing volleyball, soccer, swimming and golf. She has great grades and likes being on Student Council. She also participates in Girl Scouts and Math Olympiads.
“We salute these fine young men and women, and are glad to have their help and guidance in providing a mix of interesting and appropriate activities for youth and teens in our community,” said Eileen Matheson, director of recreation.
The Youth Commission serves in an advisory role to the Recreation Department, and members of the Youth Commission are selected through an application and interview process facilitated through the Youth Commission and staff liaisons.
Members meet monthly and also volunteer with the District throughout the year. The District appoints up to 13 volunteer members to the Youth Commission for one-year terms.
Read more about our Youth Commission at ssprd.org/Youth-Commission.