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Students learn in capital

By Staff | Mar 9, 2012

Local Kanawha & Jefferson County students returned from an exciting 3-day experience in Charleston with the HI-Y 8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars. Selected representatives from Horace Mann Middle School and Shepherdstown Middle School were at the State Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, executive offices, and even sat in on a night court session.

Sponsored by the Ohio-West Virginia YMCA as one of its many civic education activities, “these seminars are a fantastic opportunity for our students to see government in operation. The classroom lessons come alive and they get to meet the real people behind the titles. Government becomes personal and their minds awaken to the real possibility that they, too, could serve our great state,” said Lois Nelson, Executive Director.

Now celebrating their 30th year, the HI-Y 8th Grade Youth and Government Seminars are available to every school in the state through a unique partnership with the WV Department of Education. Throughout three different weeks, more than 300 students will meet with their legislators, experience how a bill becomes a law, tour the inner workings of the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, see the WV Supreme Court of Appeals, and participate in a Mock Legislative session. They will also have an opportunity to watch an actual case during Night Court, participate in a mock trial and visit with elected officials in the offices of the Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate and others.

Tom Tinder, executive director of the WV Bar Foundation, has been involved with the program for years and led the Mock Legislative session for this year’s students. He adds, “These seminars are crucial for the civic development of the next generation. I stay involved with this program because I can see the positive outcomes we have hard evidence that these programs work!”

For more information on Youth & Government Seminars or other programs of the Ohio-WV YMCA, contact the HI-Y Leadership Center at www.hi-y.com. Staff are available to help every community become involved in these life-changing programs.