SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaskan youth outline priorities for state’s future
Social well-being, affordable energy among top concerns


January 16, 2012

(SitNews) - Anchorage, Alaska - A group of 55 motivated young people gathered last week in Juneau for the 2012 Conference of Young Alaskans and issued their highest priorities in five subject areas: Energy and power, natural resources and environment, Ilakuyulluta (living harmoniously with oneself and others) and economic resilience and fiscal policy.

Delegates examined issues and set priorities in working groups and then came together as a whole to deliberate and vote on their top 10 priorities in five categories.

"These are the most important issues to young Alaskans today," said Terin Porter, COYA 2012 steering committee co-chair. "If people hope to understand our youths' approach to dealing with issues facing our state, look no further. This is the freshest and boldest platform for hearing these voices."

The priorities with the most votes in each category were:

  • Energy and power: Make energy prices more affordable for all Alaskans.
  • Natural resources and environment: Alaska will preserve and value traditional Alaska culture and protect subsistence lifestyles.
  • Ilakuyulluta (living harmoniously with oneself and others): Provide access to the education, preventative care, and resources necessary for healthy lifestyles.
  • Education and workforce development:  Educate Alaska students in ways consistent with their cultural traditions and interests.
  • Economic resilience and fiscal policy: Support diverse economies that sustain our cultures and unique state.

The categories are outlined in full in the attached document.

"The process was grueling and the decisions were not easy," said Kirk Rose, 24, a COYA 2012 delegate who works on the active revitalization of Anchorage’s Mountain View neighborhood. "But ultimately, it was worth it. I'm humbled by my peers from around the state. The quality of discussion and the willingness to yield personal opinion in favor of an informed collective compromise was what made this so successful. These opinions must be heard. Our young leaders are acutely aware of the struggles and challenges that Alaskans face on a daily basis. More importantly, the delegates have great ideas and strong dedication to a brighter future."

The deliberations and decisions resulting from the conference are being assembled into a final report and a team of delegates will return to Juneau to share the report with legislators in March.

"Our 55 delegates are vocal, passionate, empowered and committed, especially to servant leadership," Porter said." We must pay attention to what they prioritize at this conference."

This is the third Conference of Young Alaskans. The first was in 2006 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The second, in 2009, was held at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. The three-day conference is modeled after the original Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955 and aims to connect young Alaskans to a rich history, vibrant present and thriving future. Delegates are aged 16-25. This year more than half were from outside of Anchorage and 30 percent were Alaska Native. In all, 29 communities were represented, including strong delegations from Fairbanks, Nome, Bethel, Kotzebue, Ketchikan and Sitka.

The conference aired live on television and online and the archived video can be viewed at



Source of News: 

Institute of the North

The Institute of the North is a nonprofit organization founded by former Gov. Walter J. Hickel in 1994. Its mission focuses on understanding the reality, the richness and the responsibility of the North.


E-mail your news & photos to

Publish A Letter in SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2012
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

 Articles & photographs that appear in SitNews may be protected by copyright and may not be reprinted without written permission from and payment of any required fees to the proper sources.