Playing a role implementing the Apple Pass, or Youth Opportunity Pass as it is also known, is an accomplishment which I personally find very rewarding. The Apple Pass provides all of Clark County’s high school and middle school students access to C-TRAN transportation, cost free. The pass also allows free admission to our recreation centers.
While guest lecturing in Sam Busick’s Contemporary World Problems course for seniors at Hudson’s Bay High School (HBHS), I discovered that the students weren’t particularly interested in my serving as a Vancouver City Council member. They were, however, very interested in my work as a C-TRAN board member. I soon became aware that the vast majority of students used C-TRAN services and that coming up with the fare was frequently a hardship. C-TRAN provides access to part time work, internships, after school activities, sports, church activities, appointments, etc., for most of these kids.
Upon hearing this, it became apparent that we had an opportunity to affect our youth in a very positive way. We could provide mobility which, in turn, could broaden horizons and open the door to fuller, more productive lives.
A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to speak with Will Jones, basketball coach at HBHS. He told me that during the time period of 2 p.m., when school ends and 5:00 p.m., when practice starts, some of the kids go to Marshall Center which is located nearby. He went on to say that it was difficult for players to come up with the $4.00 drop in fee which severely limited their participation. Another opportunity to help our community’s youth had presented itself.
A few months later at a City Council retreat, we were encouraged to come up with “Big Hairy Audacious Goals”. My BHAG was to provide our youth with free bus passes and access to our community centers. Although initially the idea was met with some skepticism, doubt was soon overcome and a plan was set in motion.
Later, the plan was brought before Vancouver City Council and the C-TRAN board. Both groups saw the merit in implementing a pilot program starting with Vancouver and Evergreen school districts. The program soon grew to encompass all school districts in Clark County and included all middle schools as well.
The willingness of these schools, public agencies, and their devoted staff to collaborate and work together is what made the Apple Pass a reality. This experience has demonstrated to me that when we pool our resources and efforts for the benefit of our citizens, great things are possible.
I’d also like to thank my fellow Hudson’s Bay alumni, Sam Busick (1995) and Will James (1993) for their continued involvement and commitment to our schools and community.