Focus On: Leadership—Her Honor, the Mayor

Take counsel from this head of a council: leading by example isn’t just for church; elect to listen to others and you’ll come up a winner.

Like every mayor, Lindsay Anderson had to deal with the headaches of bureaucracy, endless meetings, and special-interest groups. Unlike other mayors, Lindsay had to do it all after school let out for the day.

West Bountiful, Utah, the town Lindsay calls home, is also home to a unique program that puts the youth of the town in the driver’s seat of city government. In order to give the youth an experience in leadership, the city council appoints a youth mayor and city council. Although the town has another, adult mayor, the youth mayor and council are responsible for activities and programs for the youth of West Bountiful. They also give their input and ideas to the regular city council.

“We hold meetings about every other week, and we plan for upcoming holidays like dances for the youth and Easter egg hunts for the little kids.”

Lindsay and her council have also begun work on ideas to help youth at risk, brainstorming ideas to help teenagers stay involved in positive activities. One successful program that is already in place is the West Bountiful Fourth of July dance.

“It’s great because we get such a huge response to the dance,” says Lindsay. “It’s a place to come and have a good time and stay out of trouble.”

As youth mayor, and before that as a member of the youth city council, Lindsay has learned a lot about how to manage people without stifling their creativity.

“During meetings it was hard to get everyone quiet, but that was kind of neat because they were all talking about their ideas. I’m not a shy person, but I don’t like to dominate people, so I like to be receptive to their ideas. That’s fun.”

Lindsay finds her inspiration in the two individuals she admires most: her father and Jesus Christ.

“My dad is a role model for sure. I love him. Also I learned that Jesus had a whole group of people to bring together. He taught by example and love. Like him, I hope that if I’m doing the right thing, people will follow in my footsteps.”

After a year in office, Lindsay has stepped down from her position, making way for a new youth mayor. As a Latter-day Saint, Lindsay believes in “obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (A of F 1:12). With a year of government experience under her belt, Lindsay may someday not only uphold the law; she may have a hand in making it.

[photos] Put it to a vote: with help from her friends on the youth city council (above), and advice from her dad (left), Lindsay learned a leadership style that allowed everyone to have a voice. (Photography by John Luke and courtesy of city of West Bountiful.)