Youth council hosts party on the bluff

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 10, 2008

NATCHEZ — When Johnnie Upkins and her family left Brookhaven on Saturday they had no idea they would end up at the Mayor’s Youth Council’s Family Fun Day.

Upkins said she did not know what the event was but thought it looked like fun so she stopped with her husband and 2-year-old grandson.

The trio wound up at the celebration after they decided to take a day trip to Natchez.

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Upkins said she loved the idea of a community party that anyone can attend.

“It’s a marvelous idea,” she said.

And with a dunking booth, spacewalk and tons of games the youth council’s annual community party was operating at full tilt on the bluff Saturday evening.

The council is comprised of area students that have an interest in service work and community involvement.

Throughout the year the council works on several community service projects, but the party on the bluff has special significance.

“This is our big year-end project,” said Chantelle Knight, the council’s president pro tem.

The council members organize the massive free party for the entire community.

“It’s a way for everybody to come out and have a good time,” Knight said.

Natchez’s Community Development Director Darlene Jones helps to organize the youth council and their events.

She said not only does involvement in the group give young people a chance to interact with their community but most importantly it gives them a unique insight on the operation of their local government.

Jones said council members participate in mock aldermen meetings and have an opportunity to shadow local government officials at work.

“They can give back and be a part of the process,” she said.

And while participating in the government process has merit, Saturday’s party goers looked to be having too much fun to worry about things like budget resolutions and amended motions.

And Upkins was actually so impressed by the event she said she’s thinking of pitching a similar plan to her own local government.

“This is great,” she said. “More groups should do this type of thing.”