The hardest thing about being mayor is making sure everything gets done.

Just ask Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins, Spanish Fork Mayor Marie Huff or any one of the county's 19 other mayors. Or ask Rebecca Horton, a junior at Springville High School.From tying yellow ribbons on city trees to show support for Operation Desert Storm to sponsoring a dance to raise money to provide Christmas for a needy Springville family, it's been a busy year for Youth Mayor Horton and the Springville Youth Council.

Horton credits her success as mayor to a "really good council who did everything they were supposed to" - another sentiment the county's mayors could agree with.

Springville is one of more than 50 cities across the state that participate in the youth city council program sponsored by Utah State University extension services. The program's goal is to provide positive ways for young people to contribute to their communities while at the same time teaching them how to be responsible residents.

Lehi, Pleasant Grove, Springville, Mapleton and Payson all have active youth city councils, with a mayor and officers such as secretary, historian and treasurer/recorder. The program works best in smaller cities with only one high school.

"They're learning community awareness," said Pleasant Grove Mayor David R. Holdaway. "Volunteerism is one of the most important attributes they can learn. They are also learning leadership skills."

Jeri Winger, a community development specialist with Utah State University, began the program 15 years ago after surveys showed that Utah communities were concerned youth were not receiving enough "positive experiences and positive activities."

The program began in Hyrum and spread across the state with the goal of teaching youth.

"They have to go to city hall and declare their candidacy just like normal city council members. They go through the same voting process, and are sworn in with the same oath."

Youth councils meet at least monthly, usually in the regular council's meeting room. They engage primarily in service activities. A member of the City Council city council acts as a liaison and mentor for the youth group.