A Youth Master Plan was agreed upon by San Marcos City Council earlier this April. The design comes as part of the comprehensive master plan for the City of San Marcos.
The Youth Master Plan is a cooperative, city-wide initiative to develop an enriching environment for San Marcos’ adolescents. The plan will focus on building a city platform for strengthening education, health, family and community relationships.
Councilmember Kim Porterfield, Place 1, presented the plan with the help of Texas State interns Meghan Bates and Hakim Hussein, as well as a youth subcommittee made up of local San Marcos teens. The youth subcommittee represents the voice of San Marcos’ adolescents.
Porterfield said it is important for the city to have a role in youth development because young people are the future.
“Many cities across the nation have a youth plan similar to the one that we want to initiate here in San Marcos,” Porterfield said. “We want to adopt a Youth Master Plan because it would assess services and opportunities available to the city’s youth through a strategic process.”
One aspect of the plan would be an evaluation of available out-of-school programs for city youth during the weekend, summer and time frames after school.
The time between 3 and 6 p.m. on school days, according to Porterfield’s presentation, are known to law enforcement officials as the “danger zone.” The name is earned because it is a prime time during which juvenile crime, drug experimentation and teen pregnancy are most likely to occur. Approximately $1,974,000 was spent by Hays County Juvenile Probation Department in 2011.
The Youth Master Plan aims to keep kids and teens occupied with amended “out of school time” opportunities and keep them away from potential detriments to their futures.
Rosina Valle is the director of Community and Business Partnerships for the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District. She is responsible for coordinating business, university and community engagement in San Marcos High School Career Academies and other district programs. Valle said the school district would be a key player in the development of the plan.
The Youth Master Plan intends to address possible points of interest. Topics include the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle, excellence in education, job creation through partnerships, strong neighborhoods and a better understanding of the demographic data of San Marcos.
The United Way of Hays County, SMCISD, San Marcos Police Department and Texas State are a few of the stakeholders in cooperation with the Youth Master Plan.
Michelle Harper, executive director of the United Way of Hays County, said the organization is eager to help the Youth Master Plan reach its potential.
“By providing the necessary resources to the youth of San Marcos, we can better ensure their success in the future.”
The United Way’s “Success by Six” initiative strives for equal education opportunities in Hays County with a focus on early childhood development. Increasing the number of children who are ready to learn by kindergarten is a priority shared between United Way, city council and the Youth Master Plan. Ensuring more children are at the appropriate reading level by the third grade and reducing the high school dropout rate are mutual concerns as well.
“The United Way has partnered with Central Texas Medical Center to help increase early childhood awareness by handing out early childhood education packets to new moms,” Harper said. “The packets emphasize the critical learning stages of childhood and explain how to enrich a child’s learning through play, singing and active conversation.”
Harper is hopeful the Youth Master Plan will make a lasting change in San Marcos and will show the true direction of the city.
The Youth Master Plan is estimated to begin this summer, and will be fully implemented by the summer of 2013.