Municipal Youth Councils are citywide councils composed of students from different high schools within a city. They typically serve as an advisory board to the City Commission/Council and engage their community in various ways, often through community service. This year, several youth councils have engaged in beautification efforts within their cities.

The Ocoee Youth Council, established in 2019, partnered with the City of Ocoee to help the Ocoee Cemetery, which the City took ownership of in the 1960s. In January of this year, the City Commission approved a Capital Improvement Project to beautify the cemetery. The Ocoee Youth Council stepped in to help.

Youth Council members offered to help any plot owners who needed to bring their plot up to code by weeding or removing unauthorized items. Members also added flowers to the cemetery entrance to help bring attention to the cemetery’s rules and regulations.

The Naples Youth Council, established in 2021, visited the Naples Preserve earlier this year to complete a restoration project. Before beginning the project, Youth Council members learned about the local ecosystem and the importance of environmental preservation. The preserve’s land was covered with decaying organic matter, which contributed to the displacement of native animals.


Youth Council members spent a day cleaning the preserve by removing dead plants, branches and other debris that might prevent wildlife from accessing the land. The Youth Council chose this project because the area is treasured by residents who find the area undisturbed by commercial construction.

At the suggestion of a city resident, the Tamarac Teen Council, established in 2020, turned a local green space near a road into a garden of native plants. The goal of the garden, named the “Southgate Meadows Project,” is to serve as a sanctuary for native insects and beautify the area.

After planting, fencing was placed around the garden to protect the plants from iguanas in the area. The Youth Council members have established this project as an ongoing one and continue to visit the garden each month for maintenance. Members hope the garden will boost the local ecosystem and encourage the growth of more native plants in the area while providing residents with a beautiful garden to be proud of.

By Eryn Russell

Eryn Russell is a Membership Program Specialist at the Florida League of Cities.