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Boreal Community Media

Cook County students participate in Youth in Government event

Jan 13, 2020 02:40PM ● By Editor
From the Cook County YMCA - January 13, 2020 

The YMCA, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth
development, healthy living and social responsibility, welcomed 1,550 students in grades eight
through 12 to the Minnesota State Capitol January 9-12 for the YMCA Center for Youth Voice’s
Youth in Government program. Among them were four local middle and high-school students from Cook County.

At the 66 th Youth in Government session, the state’s largest hands-on civic education event,
participants from 56 delegations took on roles as legislators, lobbyists, lawyers, judges, justices
and journalists and practiced open government without the confines of partisanship. Youth in
Government brings together a variety of students from across the state to share their perspectives.

• Andrew Hallberg (1st year delegate) participated in Leadership Corps for eight graders which
is an introduction to Model Assembly and exposure to all the program areas. He spent the
weekend creating bills, arguing court cases, writing media articles, and visiting all the
program areas to get the best first experience at Model Assembly.
• Livi Nesgoda, (3rd year delegate and president of the local delegation) served in the Judicial
Branch where youth lawyers argue assigned cases in front of youth justices. She won her
first two cases, won her argument for the third, but the judges rules for the Appellant.
• Aurora Schelmeske (3rd year delegate) was in the National Issues Forum where she
prepared, presented, and discussed national issues with peers in a forum that is focused on
positive debate. After presenting the first day, her proposal moved on to the second
committee and was eventually passed in the General Assembly.
• Chloe Blackburn (3 rd year delegate) spent her time in the Legislative Branch where she wrote
and debated bills. Her bill was passed in the House and the Senate.

There were over 400 bills debated by the Youth Legislature and its committees including topics
such as:

Homelessness in Minnesota
Consumer Affairs – regulate weapons, net neutrality
Ecology – renewable energy, public lands
Education – testing, college tuition, school funding, achievement gap
Government – change Electoral College, police reform and regulation
Health – medical marijuana, affordable healthcare
Transportation – helmet laws, funding for roads and/or mass transit

“Youth in Government helps students learn about current issues facing Minnesota,” said Emily
Marshall, Executive Director of the Cook County YMCA. “They also learn to listen to each other
while they share their own experiences, in an environment based on respect and with an emphasis on allowing all perspectives to be heard.”