By Nida Merchant

SH Youth Council 2
Sugar Hill’s Youth Council was the only youth council to attend this year’s Mayor’s Day in Atlanta.  Photo courtesy Nida Merchant

Every year, city politicians and council members come together to discuss state political issues in an event known as Mayors’ Day. In this drive to learn more about local government, politicians raise important questions and issues going on in the area and ask for leaders to be proactive in unifying all 500+ cities together.

The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) hosts this annual event in the State Capitol building with policy meetings discussing specific topics such as municipal government and transportation. They also create youth event opportunities where youth councils from across the state discuss leadership skills and future governmental opportunities. This year, however, due to a large number of people entering the city for the Super Bowl celebrations, GMA had to cancel the youth activities. This drawback did not stop the Sugar Hill Youth Council from attending the policy meetings and learning so much about the current local government.

The Sugar Hill Youth Council is an outlet for student representation in the City of Sugar Hill. We are a group of eight ambitious students who provide a youth’s perspective in city-related activities and receive an insightful background on local municipalities.

Despite the recent cancellations in the youth program, Youth Council advisor Mike Sullivan was persistent in allowing the group to attend the event. We were the only group of teenagers attending and received many questions and praises from city politicians.

In fact, Senator Renee Unterman representing District 45 had invited the Sugar Hill Youth Council as her personal guests to sit through one of her board meetings. The Youth Council was able to have yet another intimate conversation with the Senator and was able to discuss their opinion of the rising drug usage in the community. With the rising threat of the Opioid Crisis in Georgia, the teenagers were not only able to learn about the logistics of the awful event but share experiences of peers in the area.

The Youth Council was honored to be able to learn so much from both the City Representatives and Senator Unterman. In reflective conversations, later on, the council commented on their ability to truly exhibit and transform their leadership abilities rather than learning about it in another leadership class.

With just a little bit of persistence and a great deal of passion for learning about local government, the Sugar Hill Youth Council had a truly transformative experience and is looking forward to attending the event next year as well.

For more information about the Sugar Hill Youth Council and how to join, please visit the website:

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