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Mansfield Magazine

Web Extra: A Closer Look at Kennedale’s Youth Advisory Council's Staff Liason

Jan 27, 2017 05:52PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
Leslie Galloway, Kennedale
City Secretary &
Communications Coordinator

We recently featured the Kennedale Youth Advisory Council (YAC) in one of our in-print articles, "Kennedale’s Youth Advisory Council Allows Teens to be a Part of Local Government." This inspiring high school program provides municipal government experience for high schoolers. They attend the meetings and actually assist in the planning for the future.

Just like local government, they need to each be voted in each year, and can continue to participate until they have graduated. 

This program is largely a result of the hard work and dedication of Leslie Galloway, City Secretary & Community Organizer. She is the the staff liaison for the Youth Advisory Council, which essentially means that she manages their projects, attendance, and everything else in between. 

Needless to say, she is busy! 

Not only is she busy, though, she is dedicated. Her hard work goes towards these teens, and the YAC has resoundingly positive results because of it. 

We wanted to know more about Leslie, and we were lucky enough to get in touch and learn just a little bit more about how she finds time to do it all.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been with the Youth Advisory Council?

I’ve been involved with YAC since January of 2015, and it’s one of the best parts of my job.

I have two kids of my own, and they both think they want to be members when they’re in high school. We’ll see if they still feel that way in a few years! I hope they do, though – these YAC members are the kind of kids every parent dreams of their own children choosing as friends.

I can’t say enough good things.

What has been one of the most memorable moments you've had with it so far? 

YAC Summit is a blast. It’s when you get to see the members’ true personalities shine through, and really get to know them better. Traveling and having dinner with someone is one of the best ways to get to know them. I’m hoping that next year we can present a workshop session at the Summit focusing on our Trunk-or-Treat event and how it’s grown so quickly to involve not only YAC, but also the Library and Senior Center.

What does the future look like for the Youth Advisory Council? Any goals? 

We’ve tossed around the idea of identifying and raising money for an addition to one of the parks that would appeal to pre-teens or teens. One possibility would be a sand volleyball court at Sonora Park (which already has a 9-hole disc golf course), but there are no definite plans in place yet. One of my goals, as their leader, is to attract younger students (freshmen and sophomores) so we’ll have longer-standing members that can complete more complex projects across the years.

I know that you are really busy from day to day! What are some ways you balance it all?

I use the Todoist app to track my current projects and recurring tasks, and I’ve also been trying to clear out my inbox daily! It’s amazing how much more organized you feel when you don’t have dozens of emails staring back at you.

Other than that, I do what most of us do – prioritize and dive in. Thankfully, I also have a wonderful husband who’s always there for me.

Do you have any hobbies you enjoy doing when you find the time? 

I don’t consider myself an artist, but most of my hobbies do involve creating – graphic design, photography, paper crafts. The end result doesn’t need to be beautiful. I just find the process calming. I also enjoy traveling. Who doesn’t, I guess? My husband and I are headed to London in April to explore the city and watch a Tottenham (soccer) match. He’s a huge Hotspur fan. We’re also planning a day or two in Paris, and I can’t wait to see The Louvre. This is my first trip to Europe, and I’m pretty giddy.

What's something people usually assume about you? What do people usually assume that's incorrect? 

People might think I’m reserved because I’m often quiet when you first meet me. I’ve always been someone who observes a situation before diving in. In fact, as a child, my aunt called me “the judge” because I’d get this really stern look on my face when I was trying to size up what was going on around me. But, once I get a feel for the personalities and situation around me, I open up pretty quickly. It just takes me a minute.

Anything else we should know about the YAC?

YAC is a great service organization for high schoolers, but it’s also a wonderful first step for those who aspire to a career in higher levels of government. Through YAC, I get to share with these kids how some of the everyday processes work, and they get an inside look at the considerations that are made on even the smallest decisions.

For example, when they wanted to landscape their traffic circle, they learned that there was a list of suggested plants (those that are hardy and drought-tolerant), and that any landscape design would need to be approved by the Parks Board. It sounds a little daunting, but as a city, we have to look at the sustainability of any project or decision, no matter how small. We need to have the necessary staff and resources to maintain any addition to the city – even a flowerbed.

To learn more about the great things that the Kennedale Youth Advisory Council is doing for the youth within the community, visit their website.

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