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A Day in City Government for Youth Leaders in Acadiana

By Stacy Romero / Bienvenue a' Broussard / March 2023 / Volume 1

On Monday, February 6th, the Brent Henley Youth Leadeship (BHYL) inaugural class participated in Local Government Day. This is the seventh of nine sessions that the students will participate in during the 2022-23 school year. The purpose of the monthly meetings with students is to develop, nurture, and mentor emerging young leaders in Lafayette Parish.

The students had the opportunity to learn more about local government in the City of Broussard. All in attendance were shown how local city government works, and then learned the importance of local government in a community. They participated in mock council and planning committee meetings, which emphasized the importance of civic engagement.

The students visited Broussard City Hall and were welcomed by Chief Administrative Officer Callie Laviolette. A tour of the Broussard Council Chambers was held before the Broussard Fire Department Honor Guard presentation of colors and leading of the pledge. Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, Broussard Mayor Ray Bourque, Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter, and Scott Mayor Jan-Scott Richard, along with other council members, were present and spoke of their roles within government. Also speaking of their duties within the government were Broussard's Police Chief Vance Olivier and Broussard's Fire Chief Brian Champagne.

BHYL Program Coordinator Jerry Lynn stated, "This program is designed to help participants in their junior year of high school learn how all facets of their community work. Today's session focused on local government, but in their senior year, they will serve as a junior board member of a local nonprofit, which we believe will complete the circle. Thank you to our local government leaders for supporting these young people."

The morning session concluded with the students learning from City Clerk Tina Emert. The role of Public Works within a city was presented by City Manager/Director of Public Works Mel Bertrand. City Engineer Walter Comeaux with Comeaux Engineering shared with the students and Ben Theriot spoke on behalf of the Planning Department/Code Enforcement.

Lunch was held at the Valsin Broussard House. Representatives from the Broussard Chamber of Commerce & Broussard Economic Development Corporation gave a presentation discussing the importance of community organizations and described the collaborative relationship they have with the City of Broussard.

Parks and Recreation Director Jamison Abshire shared facility details and activities of Broussard Sports Complex at St. Julien Park from the 2nd story observation deck of the blue baseball pod, followed by a demonstration of disc golf. Many of the students who visit the Broussard park for other sports enjoyed learning about disc golf, which is a new sport to Broussard.

The students in this leadership program are looking forward to the next few months as they near graduation from the program.

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