9-year-old convinces town to overturn snowball ban: 'I want to have a voice'

Nine-year-old Dane Best has been throwing snowballs all his life; he had no idea he was breaking the law in his town until a month and a half ago.
During an October school trip to the town hall, Dane and his classmates learned from the mayor that snowball fights are illegal within the town limits of Severance, Colo.
Shocked, Dane decided he would try to overturn this ordinance himself. He made a PowerPoint presentation during a town meeting on Monday night and ended up winning over the board. To celebrate overturning this outrageous rule, he threw the very first legal snowball in Severance since the 1920s.
Kyle Rietkerk, the assistant to the Severance town administrator, said the rule was part of “a larger ordinance that made it illegal to throw or shoot stones or missiles at people, animals, buildings, trees, any other public or private property or vehicles,” according to the New York Post. Snowballs fell under the town’s definition of “missiles.”
“I went on a field trip with my class and the mayor told us crazy laws,” Dane recalled to Yahoo Lifestyle. “And he told us you can’t throw snowballs, and I asked my mom if she could change it, and she said I had to do it, so she called the town and they told me to just make a speech.”
Severance Mayor Don McLeod said he used the law to pique the interest of the community’s third graders. “As a board, we are always trying to figure out how to get our community more engaged and more involved,” McLeod told Yahoo Lifestyle. All third graders take a class trip to town hall to learn about voting, elections and how ordinances are passed.
McLeod is passionate about teaching people the importance of utilizing their voice at a young age. “For kiddos, I gotta put it in the context of what’s important in their world and what’s important to them. That’s why we pick out a few of these oddball rules to tell them about,” he explained. “I’ve been challenging children for the past four years to make this particular change — this is the first time I’ve been taken up on it.”
“He does like to excel in anything he does,” Dane’s mom, Brooke, told Yahoo Lifestyle. “It’s usually sports-driven, though. He’s a pretty average boy, he plays quarterback for his football team, plays third baseman for his baseball team. But I think he kind of saw this as a challenge. Don put it out there that this was a crazy law and children have a voice, and you all can have a voice in this town, and when he heard Mayor Don say that, he came right home and was like, ‘Mom, I want to have a voice and I want to do this.’”
So Dane took on the task. “He did a lot of research and asked relatives what they thought, asked schoolmates what they thought,” Brooke said. “He gave it 100 percent.”
And it wasn’t just a presentation he had to prepare. “It actually does take a lot of time and energy to change a city ordinance,” McLeod said. “There are lots of legal steps to that process, and you have to come and speak in front of a large group of people, mostly adults, so that’s kind of intimidating. And you have to follow through with research and paperwork, and then you actually have to help draft a resolution to make a change.” He thinks this is why no one has taken on the challenge before, even though all the children were intrigued by the idea. “I’m really proud of him.”
It took Dane about a month to do all of this, a total of 20 hours, he guesses.
It all culminated in Monday night’s meeting, which Dane said was the hardest part of the whole process, because there were about 100 people watching, including his teachers and classmates.
During his three-minute presentation, he defined a snowball fight as “a physical game in which balls of snow are thrown with the intention of hitting somebody else. The game is similar to dodgeball in its major factors, though typically less organized. This activity is primarily played during winter, when there is sufficient snowfall.” He then listed reasons the ban should be overturned, including, “Today children need reasons to play outside: Research suggests that a lack of exposure to the outdoors can lead to obesity, ADHD, anxiety and depression.” He concluded, “The Children of Severance want … the opportunity to have snowball fights like the rest of the world. Also, they want the picture that the rest of the United States pictures when they think of Colorado … snow skiing, snowball fights and winter FUN!”
“I had never did a PowerPoint in my life,” Dane said. But he was confident that this would convince the town board. And he was right. “It was a very easy decision, with the town board voting unanimously,” Severance town administrator Nicholas Wharton told Yahoo Lifestyle of the vote to overturn the snowball ban.
The change went into effect immediately, so Dane went outside to celebrate by throwing the first legal snowball. “It felt amazing,” he said.

While this whole thing has been “tiring and crazy,” Dane says, he’s not stopping. “He’s already asking this morning about other laws that might need to be changed. He’s got one in mind — he’s already asking if he can do another one soon,” Brooke said.
“You can only have a cat or dog, you can’t have any other pet, and you can only have three of them,” Dane revealed. He wants to change that.
“The cause might be silly and small, but just to know that you are able to do something like that has been enlightening for all of us,” his proud mom said. Dane’s enthusiasm has been contagious. “His friends are already saying, ‘I want to change laws, I want to read them and see if there are any more.’ It’s really cool to see.” She hopes this serves as an example that fighting for what you believe in can be rewarding and fun, and that anyone can participate, even children. “I’m hoping that through all this, it will encourage a conversation that many families will have at dinner tonight, and parents teaching their children that if they feel strongly about something, they can stand up and fight for their rights.”
9-year-old convinces town to overturn snowball ban: 'I want to have a voice' 9-year-old convinces town to overturn snowball ban: 'I want to have a voice' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:03 Rating: 5

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