Bay County NAACP Youth Council going strong following inactive year

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - This time last year, the Bay county NAACP Youth Council was just getting back on its feet. The group was inactive for a year due to lack of leadership.

Well, now the group is working on community involvement with young people at the helm.

About 30 young people between the ages of six and 18 are members of the Bay County NAACP Youth Council. Twelve-year-old Jolon Waddell is the president.

"The youth council just tries to bring like equality and justice into our schools," Jolon said.

Last year, the council was restarted and re-energized. The group initially took a break due to difficulties finding a replacement youth adviser.

However, throughout 2017, they participated in several events and held a few of their own.

"We have hosted a game night, a career day. We have participated in the Martin Luther King Day Festival and the walk and we just hosted a Valentine's Day ball," Jolon said.

The Youth Council operates under the same principles as the adult NAACP. Some of those principles are education development, voting rights, and economic stability.

"The community game night, getting out in the community and letting the community know that [the Youth Council] is back up active," Vanessa Waddell, a member of the Bay County NAACP and Jolon's mom said, "and they're alive and well and we are functioning and we want more children to come out so that they can learn the civic responsibility."

Jolon says young people have a duty to be active in their community and to educate themselves about their history.

"Nowadays, I don't think any young people like, understand anything and they don't care about it, but once they get to know and understand they'll care about it more," Jolon said. "They'll know their heritage and their roots and everything so they'll start respecting it more."

Members of the Bay County NAACP Youth council are planning another game night. They're also planning events for Mother's Day and Father's Day to give back to the community.