Youth stand in for government

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Shannon Cron

Seniors Tanner Speltz, Dan Morizio, and Michael Conry participated in passing legislation such as Speltz's "Turtle bill."

Katie Cashman, staff writer

During a weekend of working at the capitol and staying at the downtown Hilton hotel, 20 BSM students engaged with kids from many other schools in simulated government activities at the Youth In Government Model Assembly.

YIG participants can choose between many different groups of the government to participate in and learn about–lobbyists, chair members, senators, and house members are just some of the options. The realistic parliamentary procedures students take part in give a hands-on experience very similar to what government is like. “I actually understand the government now. Before I didn’t know what the whole process was like for a bill,” said Luke McCormick, junior.

Those who choose to be in the House or Senate write their own bill and attempt to get it passed by the House, then the Senate and, eventually get assessed and accepted by the YIG governor. McCormick’s bill to legalize medicinal marijuana made it past the House and Senate, but junior Johnny Mulvahill’s bill to eliminate grades from school wasn’t so lucky. “Mine got shot down right away,” said Mulvahill.

The model assembly is more than just writing and voting on bills. Each night there are activities such as karaoke, a carnival and on the last night, a governor’s ball. “The governor’s ball is like one big high school dance,” said McCormick.

Mr. Jones has been supervising the Youth In Government for five years now. Passionate about politics himself, he loves the hands-on government experience teenagers can get out of it. “There’s a lot of life skills they can learn from this jam-packed weekend,” said Mr. Jones.

Participants find that meeting and socializing with kids from other schools is one of the best aspects of YIG. “I loved meeting new people and new friends,” said Mike Mullin, senior.

Wearing formal attire, busing to the Capitol, eating in the skyways, and staying at the Hilton add to the exciting experience. “We got to see all of Minneapolis from the skyways––that was pretty neat,” said McCormick.