Tag Archives: The Surprise Youth Council

January 2020 • Newsletter

Thank You!

Thank you for signing up for Mayor updates. It is my goal to email you a monthly newsletter with information regarding current events and items that may be of interest to you. If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate in contacting me at skip.hall@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1313 or 623.451.3975. Also, please feel free to visit my webpage at https://mayor.surpriseaz.gov/. Please follow me on Facebook (facebook.com/SkipHallD5), Twitter (@SkipHall2), and Instagram (@SkipforSurprise).

Speed Limit Change

The speed limit on Grand Avenue has been updated and is designed to reduce variations in vehicle speeds along specified sections. ADOT waited until the completion of recent construction before evaluating traffic speeds and other factors to determine if speed limits needed to be raised. The speed limit changes are based on safety considerations that occur when most traffic is traveling at nearly the same speed. The speed limit along Grand Avenue, between Thunderbird and Reems Roads, has been raised from 45 to 50 mph. The speed limit along the rest of the section of US 60, between Reems Road and R.H. Johnson Boulevard, has been raised from 45 to 55 mph. Please note these changes and as always, Drive Wise Surprise.

City Awarded Grant

The City of Surprise was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Tohono O’odham Nation to advance community initiatives. This grant will help to support several of the Human Service and Community Vitality (HSCV) Department programs and initiatives to include the Crisis Assistance Fund, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, expanded After School & Summer Programming and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration. These programs bring our community together and assist many residents in a time of need. If you would like any information on these programs, please call HSCV at 623-222-1500.

National Anthem Performers Needed

The city is looking for experienced vocalists, musicians and Color Guards to perform the National Anthem for the upcoming Cactus League Spring Training Games. Interested National Anthem performers may attend open auditions on Saturday, January 11, from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. at the Surprise Stadium, 15850 N. Bullard Ave. Performers will need to enter through the third base gate nearest the parking lot. Pre-registration is not required, and tryouts will be done on a first-come first-served basis. Interested parties may also submit a video or audio recording to Zachary.Regan@surpriseaz.gov no later than January 11. If your organization is interested in presenting the colors during the Spring Training Games, please contact Zachary Regan for a list of criteria and registration instructions.

Tax Preparation Volunteers

As we welcome in the new year, we welcome a new tax season. Volunteers are needed to provide free tax return preparation for low-to-moderate income individuals and families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. There is no prior tax preparation experience needed, as training will be provided. Volunteers are asked to commit a minimum of 25 hours at a VITA site during tax season, January through April 15. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Puja Sachan at psachan@TurnaNewLeaf.org.

Draft Land Development Ordinances

The city’s effort to simplify and modernize its development and design standards continues with new drafts of the Land Development Ordinances (LDO) online for public review and comment. The LDO’s regulate housing density, commercial and industrial use, building types, heights, landscaping and more. If you are interested in viewing the drafts or submitting your comments, please visit www.surpriseaz.gov/developnext.

Surprise Youth Council Meeting

I had the privilege to sit down and meet with five of our Surprise Youth Council Members. These young adults are active in our community as they participate in service projects, focus groups, events and youth forums. They connect with policy makers and work towards solving problems. These students work with local leaders, non-profits and school administrators to make a difference in Surprise. Thank you for your dedication to our city.

Mayor Hall and the Surprise Youth Council.


EPCOR owns and operates a water treatment facility off of Cactus Road at the White Tank Mountains. I was privileged to be able to tour the facility and get a first-hand look at water filtering. This facility services approximately 1/3 of Surprise, as well as several surrounding cities. They are one of the only facilities in the country to utilize the latest magnetite technology to assist in water purification. During the late summer months, this facility alone will filter 21 million gallons of water a day! I would like to thank the staff of EPCOR for inviting me to take this very informative tour.

Fire Station Open Houses

The City of Surprise Fire-Medical Department (SFMD) is continuing its series of fire station open houses. Residents are invited to meet the firefighters, check out the living quarters, walk through the bays and see the fire trucks. Attendees will also get a look at the medical equipment, firefighting gear and tools used on emergency calls. Upcoming open houses include, FS 302 (18600 N. Reems Road) on January 4, FS 307 (16171 W. Cactus Road) on January 11, FS 301 (16750 N. Village Drive) on January 25, FS 305 (16750 N. Village Dr.) on February 1 and the final open house will be on February 22, FS 304 (24900 N. 163rd Ave). All open houses are held from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. For more information or any questions, please contact the SFMD at 623-222-5000.


Happy Trails

The staff and residents of Happy Trails welcomed me at their recent Town Hall Meeting. I was able to give valuable city updates and answer questions. I was overwhelmed by the number of residents in attendance as well as the audience engagement. I know your time is valuable, and I appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to speak.

Mayor Hall speaks to residents at Happy Trails.

Surprise Party

The Annual Surprise Party is something to look forward to every year! This year, residents enjoyed the live music, a snow hill, crafts, hot air balloons and much more. I was honored to be able to lead the crowd in the countdown of the tree lighting. Thank you to our Parks and Recreation staff for their dedication to ensuring this event is a success every year.

Deck the Hock

Thank you to all the residents and staff for making Deck the Hock a successful event. This night brought residents to the Surprise Senior Center for crafts, carols and even snow. These community events are very enjoyable.

Tech the Halls

The Tech the Halls event offered sci-tech exhibits combined with holiday cheer. Our Economic Development Department did an outstanding job of combining educational exhibits with family fun. There were many activities and prizes that kept residents busy as they explored the AZ TechCelerator.

Adaptive Winter Party

Thank you to the Parks and Recreation team for their continued support and dedication to hosting the Adaptive Winter Party. This was the 13th Annual Celebration which brought students and adults to DreamCatcher Park for the opportunity to enjoy crafts, games, music and tree decorating.

Angry Crab Shack Ribbon Cutting

The City of Surprise welcomes our newest addition to the Bel Mar complex. Located at 11340 W. Bell Road, this new seafood restaurant offers a family friendly environment with an appetizing menu. Welcome to Surprise, and we wish you much success.

Coming Up

Shred-A-Thon & Prescription Drug Take-Back

The Surprise Police Department, 14250 W. Statler Plaza, will be hosting a Shred-A-Thon and Prescription Drug Take-Back Event on Saturday, January 11 from 7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. This free event will allow residents to shred up to five boxes per vehicle! They will also be accepting unused prescriptions and over the counter medication for disposal. Please note that no sharps or inhalers will be allowed. Residents are encouraged to arrive early as the hours are subject to change due to truck capacity.

Fine Art and Wine Festival

The 8th Annual Thunderbird Artists Fine Art and Wine Festival is scheduled for Friday, January 10 through Sunday, January 12 at Mark Coronado Park, 15960 N. Bullard Ave. This festival brings residents up close and personal with over 80 artists and their work. The subject matter and designs have a wide range and offer something for everyone. Admission is $3.00 per person or $10.00 per person for the wine tasting ticket. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

MLK Day of Celebration & Service

In honor of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the city will host a day of celebration and service on Saturday, January 18, in the City Hall Courtyard, 16000 N. Civic Center Plaza. The day will begin with a light breakfast and musical performances at 8:30 a.m. The service projects will kick off at 9:45 a.m. This annual celebration brings residents from throughout our city together to work as a community and show pride in our city. I hope to see you there!

Classic Dog Show

The Kachina Kennel Club is the first kennel club in the West Valley and was formed in 1975. They held their first breed show in 1978 and are now bringing the Copper Classic Dog Show to Mark Coronado Park on Friday, January 24 – Sunday, January 26. This show will bring visitors from across the state for a chance to be awarded the grand prize. Please be sure to watch my Facebook for updates on exact times and shows.

Surprise Spring Training 5K

The 3rd Annual Spring Training 5K/1K will be held on Friday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. This evening fun run will take you on a scenic city route before heading to the ballpark. All runners will receive a Jimmy John’s Spring Training Race shirt, finisher medal and a buy one get one free coupon for select sections of the Kansas City Royals vs. Cincinnati Reds game on March 7. Early registration is now open and offers discounted rates. Please visit www.SurpriseStadium.com/events for more information and registration forms.

City Council Meetings

As a friendly reminder, City Council Meetings will be held on Tuesday, January 7 and Tuesday, January 21 this month. City Council Work sessions begin at 4:00 p.m. while City Council Meetings follow at 6:00 p.m. We hope to see you there.

New Surprise Youth Council gets sworn in

The Surprise Youth Council (SYC) was brought to life last night when 25 Surprise youth were sworn into the new leadership group, which will help guide decisions affecting the city’s young people.

The swearing-in ceremony followed a reception in City Hall where the 6-11 graders heard from Mayor Sharon Wolcott and Vice Mayor John Williams, who both stressed the importance of this new council.

“We want our young residents to enjoy living here not only while they’re growing up, but also in the future as working adults,” says Mayor Wolcott. “Thus, it’s vital that we provide our youth with an active voice in helping shape Surprise for the benefit of future generations. This new group will provide them with that opportunity.”

SYC leadership positions will be modeled after City Council, with a youth mayor, vice mayor and committee chairs. Officers will take turns holding a non-voting seat at the Dias during City Council meetings.

After City Council approved the formation of SYC in October, the city began outreach to students at local schools and those interested submitted a video application.

“The applications revealed that our youth want to be engaged, want to make a difference, and they see real opportunities to impact our community—from arts to drug prevention to youth engagement to transportation,” says Vice Mayor John Williams, who helped lead the formation of the council. “They want to be part of the decisions; they want a shared role in building our community now and in the future. These bright young minds want that responsibility; we need to give it to them, we need to listen to them! It will be exciting to see how they help shape Surprise.”


The new SYC representatives include:

6th Grade

Makenna Breading-Goodrich, Canyon Ridge
Taylor Gage, Western Peaks
Macy Stewart, Imagine Prep

7th Grade

Jonah Kaplan, Calibre Academy
Sarina Ramirez, Canyon Ridge
Selah Wallace, Imagine Prep

8th Grade

Lucas Cons, Rancho Gabriela
Isabella de Vlieger, Paradise Honors
Jada Henderson, Arizona Charter Academy
Quade Miller-Edwards, Sunset Hills
Bailey Rice, Cimarron Springs

9th Grade

Mikayla Barrera, Arizona Charter Academy
Anthony Canelli, Willow Canyon
Ariel Hatton, Paradise Honors
Kyla Hudson, Shadow Ridge
Mylan Johnson, Paradise Honors

10th Grade

Valeria Ortiz, Paradise Honors
Riley Pollard, Willow Canyon
Megan Ruff, Paradise Honors
Samantha Salazar, Paradise Honors

11th Grade

Eunice Barrameda, Shadow Ridge
Chaunci Hood, Dysart
Grace McDonald, Shadow Ridge
Nithya Satiyaselan, Willow Canyon.
Kyle Shahenian, Dysart

For more information about SYC, please contact Surprise Youth Services Administrator Paul Bernardo at paul.bernardo@surpriseaz.gov or 623.222.1029.