Earlier this week, Kelly Walsh High School students met with local leaders to discuss a wide variety of subjects and issues that are currently impacting Casper.

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Per a press release from the Natrona County School District, KWHS social studies teachers partnered with Casper Youth Council Advisor Elissa Ruckle to provide students the opportunity to learn more about the community and the importance of civic engagement.

City Council members Kyle Gamroth and Amber Pollock, as well as City Manager Carter Napier and Casper Youth Council member Mason Napier met with students in a forum-type setting and spoke about the benefits of CYC and the opportunities that come with the program.

"The amount of opportunity that CYC gives us is absolutely incredible," Mason said. "A lot of what we (CYC) touched on was infrastructure needs and youth inclusivity. We are at a turning point in our city of Casper; we have to address these issues now.”

Infrastructure was a big topic of conversation at the forum, with Carter Napier noting that many of Casper's buildings were constructed in the 1980's. Napier said the city is committed to improving the infrastructure of city buildings while still remaining fiscally responsible and also continuing to engage with and listen to the community.

“We are at that point in our communities history, we have to have answers, and fortunately, we have really good people on City Council who are willing to have these conversations, entertain the thought process, and work together with the community on what we are going to do next.," Napier said.

Additionally, students and councilmembers spoke about the importance of youth activism and the involvement of young people in city issues.

“I’m really excited to have a Youth Council, it’s a great tool that the City Council has to plug into your demographic and understand your perspective as we continue to make decisions," Councilwoman Amber Pollock told the students. "The more information we can gather from different demographics, the better decisions we can make. It’s important to us to get your input and feedback and your perspective, so as we are working towards our goals, we can make sure we have the right vision for Casper in mind.”

Councilman Kyle Gamroth agreed.

“The importance of committed people organizing around a specific idea or a specific goal, Casper is such an awesome place for that, and there is so much potential here," Gamroth stated. "Even a small group of engaged citizens can do cool, powerful things. David Street Station is an excellent example; it started with 12-15 people who wanted to see it happen...they organized, they came up with ideas, and because of the dedication and perseverance of those folks, we have this incredible facility.”

Students and leaders traded ideas back and forth, asking questions and raising ideas and generally inspiring each other to continue to make Casper an inclusive place for all demographics.

“Youth are the future of our community – from workforce to business owners to community leaders,” shared Casper Youth Council Advisor Elissa Ruckle. “Our vision for CYC is to provide opportunities for Casper’s youth to have a voice in and contribute to the shaping of our community; to have active, ongoing participation in local city government and community-related issues.”

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