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100 Best Communities

The 100 Best Communities for Young People competition honors outstanding efforts on behalf of young people by multiple sectors of communities. In cities, suburbs, small towns and counties across the country, this annual competition is leading communities to assess their efforts, work more effectively together for young people, and share best practices.

Being chosen as one of the 100 Best Communities in our nation is a huge honor for Bonneville County and the many organizations working for youth. It is a testament to what we already knew—Bonneville County is a great place for youth. Below is the write up America’s Promise wrote for Bonneville County:


By Christopher Epps

Established in 1911 amongst the Upper Snake River Valley, this rural southeast Idaho county has made a commitment to honor and support all children regardless of their backgrounds. Bonneville County is one of 100 Best Communities for Young People because it not only strives for positive ways to get youth involved in service and community needs, but it promotes youth as a vital part of the community.

Priding itself on its small-town feel with big city attractions, Bonneville County believes that partnership among youth-centered organizations is a key to success. In a unique partnership between the schools, the county and juvenile probation, a transition classroom meets the needs of young people transferring from a treatment program back into school. Because the Bonneville County places great emphasis on education, there are also two alternative high schools that give young people options when the traditional setting doesn't fit.

Bonneville County works hard to provide its kids with fun things important to them, including an equal-access playground and a new skate park. In showing by doing, as with the 120-member partnership of the Bonneville Youth Development Council (BYCD), the collective resources of the county keep the focus where it's supposed to be—on kids.

In the city of Idaho Falls, businesses with specially trained employees are identified by a “Safe Place” sign out front, welcoming any child in need of help or in search of a haven. The city within Bonneville County also has a curfew law to reduce crimes against youth and reduce crimes committed by youth.

The city of Iona has a Mayor's Advisory Council that focuses on community service, leadership skills and the youth’s voice. The council provides a forum for youth to express changes and improvements needed in the city of Iona.

Other programs and initiatives founded in Bonneville County that led to its selection as a 2007 100 Best community include:

 The Bonneville Youth Council (BYC) provides projects and initiatives that produce a youth voice and teaches leadership skills. BYC is structured so that young people lead all activities. To date, the Council has participated in the MADD conference aimed to change policy at the state level, a local underage drinking prevention conference and town hall meetings empowering youth to make changes.

The Extra Mile Youth Awards honor youth who go the extra mile in service to the community. A partnership between Bonneville Youth Development Council's (BYDC's) Promise, the Bank of Commerce, and the Post Register. The awards were started in 2003 to recognize the contributions youth make to Bonneville County in a positive way. Over the past 6 years 173 young people have been honored.

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