In 1962, concern demonstrated by Mayor Merie E. Allen and other responsible citizens of Ogden resulted in the formation of the Mayor’s Committee on Youth. The Weber County Welfare Department, Employment Security, Police Department, Community council on Social Services, YWCA, various service clubs and other groups contributed members to the committee and allied themselves for the purpose of encouraging the community to work together in dealing with problems facing disadvantaged youth in the Ogden Area.
In the same year, the Weber County Welfare Department became concerned with the lack of feedback received from mothers participating in its programs. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the Embry Chapel AME Mother’s Council was organized by the Welfare Department, designed to act as a “change agent” by enabling recipients to provide first-hand, reliable input with regard to their needs.
In the fall of 1964, immediately following the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act, the Director of Education Services of Ogden City Schools attended a conference held in San Francisco, designed to explain this Act and its intended effect on schools and the war on poverty. Shortly thereafter, he appeared before the Mayor’s Committee on You and presented a proposal intended to give help to disadvantaged youth.
The Director also proposed that the Mayor’s Committee on Youth enlarge its scope beyond disadvantaged community members, focusing and coordinating all community resources on recognizing and dealing with problems encountered by the poor. Included in the proposal was the concept put forward by the Mother’s Council, whereby the poor and disadvantaged were actually represented in the decision-making process. The proposal was accepted, resulting in the Mayor’s Committee on Youth reorganizing itself into the Ogden Area Community Action Committee, incorporated (OACAC) on March 26, 1965. OACAC then became the Ogden Area Community Action Agency, Inc. (OACAA) and its presence known as the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership, Inc. (OWCAP).
In the area of Community Development, many changes were experienced from 1965 to the present, but the philosophy and purpose of the Community Action Agency did not change. The Mission Statement in 1965 became “helping poor people become self-sufficient.”Self-sufficiency in common terms equated to a family having the personal resources to provide stability to adequately sustain life. This was accomplished by providing various resources directly or through referrals to local service agencies. The primary target areas were identified as Washington-Jefferson, Dee Lewis, Marshall White, and West Ogden. In the early 1990s, these areas have been identified as the four most depressed areas/communities in the State of Utah.
Today, our mission statement continues OWCAP’s legacy in celebrating and supporting self-sufficiency: “OWCAP elevates individuals, families, and communities of Weber County by improving self-sufficiency through services and collaboration.”