Local Mason County students returned from a three-day experience in Charleston with the YLA Eighth Grade Youth & Government Seminars. Selected representatives from Point Pleasant Junior High 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 Youth Leadership Association 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 Tom Starr, executive director.
Now celebrating their 35th year, the YLA Eighth Grade Youth & Government Seminars are available to every school in the state through a unique partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education. Throughout five different sessions, more than 450 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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia Bar Foundation, has been involved with the program for years and led the Mock Legislative session for this year’s students. Tinder said: “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.”