Message from Mayor Lynne Ashbeck: Clovis through the eyes of our future leaders

The Clovis Youth Commission. (Photo courtesy of City of Clovis)

March 7, 2024 – One of the greatest strengths of our community—today and for all of the generations before us—is the chance for citizens to engage with our local government.

From the more formal City Council and Commissions (like Planning and Personnel) to advisory committees (tourism, arts, General Plans, and historical preservation) to town halls, Facebook Live sessions, attending Council meetings and simply running into a Councilmember in the grocery store, citizen engagement matters here.

Over the last couple of years, Mayor Pro Tem Vong Mouanatoua and I shared a vision to find ways for our kids to engage in this place that they call home. After looking at ‘best practices’ in other communities and conversations with our colleagues at Clovis Unified, the idea for a Clovis Youth Commission was born.

The Clovis Youth Commission was formed in December of 2023 and met for the first time in January of this year. The Commission is made up of 16 high school sophomores and juniors who reside across the City of Clovis. There was an application and an interview process along with their family support for their participation.

Our inaugural group of Commissioners is an incredible group of young people. They come from different schools, different neighborhoods, different families and have varied (and many!) interests. Some knew others in the group. Most did not. And, above all else, they are the best example of that while they are indeed unique individuals, they quickly found their way to the things they have in common.

They are proud of our community and describe it with words like ‘home,’ ‘tradition,’ and ‘community’.

They want to be a part of making it an even better place. And particularly for their generation. Just what should a Clovis Youth Commission accomplish? Will they focus on a specific project—for example, what if we had a Youth Center that rivals our new Senior Center as a place to gather? Could we ‘think big’ to make Clovis the best place for kids?

And, gratefully, at their first meeting, they taught us a bit about how their generation likes to communicate—both with technology and with some of the slang being used in high school. Unusual as it sounded to my ears, I was incredibly appreciative for the ‘crash course’ in teen vocabulary!!

This inaugural group of Youth Commissioners are trailblazers—joining the ranks of a community built by trailblazers—those who built the flume, who imagined a vibrant Old Town, our first woman Mayor, those who invented farm equipment, developed technology, thought an abandoned railroad line could become a trail and more.

Their job will be to define the course of how future Youth Commissions will serve this community. What is important to our youth? How will we know? How do they want to get and stay involved?

The 2024 Clovis Youth Commission meets monthly through May 2024. For more information, visit: www.

But back to perhaps the most important lesson from these kids—one that many adults have forgotten. They remind us that we can gather together with people we do not know, who may appear different than us, who live in different parts of our community—and all agree that Clovis is a special place and one worth working together on.

With these young Clovis leaders in charge—and those that will follow—I am confident in the future of our community. And THAT is the job of us, as leaders, today—make sure there are those ready to follow.

We’ve got that covered.