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McDowell County Students Learn Citizenship in Charleston

Local McDowell County students returned from an exciting 3-day experience in Charleston with the YLA 8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars.  Selected representatives from Mount View Middle, Sandy River Middle, and Southside K-8 schools 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 Youth Leadership Association as one of its many civic education activities, “These seminars are a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn more about state government. They are able to see Charleston in action and come out of the seminar with a better understanding of how it all works together. They’ll experience some amazing things and meet some inspiring people, and maybe come out of the 3 days thinking that they, too, can serve the great state of West Virginia,” said Chandler Grooms, Executive Director.

Now celebrating their 38th year, the YLA 8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars are available to every school in the state through a unique partnership with the WV Department of Education.  Throughout four different sessions, more than 350 students and their teachers met with their legislators, experienced how a bill becomes a law, toured the inner workings of the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion, saw the WV Supreme Court of Appeals, and participated in a Mock Legislative session.  They also witness an actual cases 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 YLA programs, contact the Youth Leadership Association at yla-youthleadership.org.  Staff are available to help every community become involved in these life-changing programs.