Youths participate in Citizenship in Action program
Submitted by Debra Henry
More than 250 Kansas youths stormed the Statehouse Feb. 16-17 to get a up-close look at how the government works and how they can become leaders for positive change in their communities. The Meadowlark District took 16 4-H youths to attend this event.
The young people, ages 13 to 18, were participating in the annual Citizenship in Action program, hosted by Kansas 4-H Youth Development, to give teenagers an opportunity to see how they can make their voices heard when important decisions need to be made.
On Sunday evening, the teens separated into the Senate and House of Representatives chambers to debate three issues that Kansas legislators also will be debating during the 2020 session: Mental Illness in America, How Do We Prevent Mass Shootings in our Communities, and Land Use Conflict.
“Taking part in the Senate helps me bring the legislation process to life. I enjoy debating and voting on actual bills. When we started making the bill, we were somewhat confused where to even start, but we all had a chance to voice our opinion,” said Leah Renyer, 4-H members from Sabetha who has been attending Citizenship in Action for three years.
Monday was then spent at the capital touring, sitting in on the House session, and visiting with legislators and other 4-Hers across the state. The Meadowlark 4-H members took some time to visit the State Treasurer’s Office, where they toured the vault which holds all of Kansas unclaimed safety deposit box inventory. They also spoke with Representative Randy Garber about his job and responsibilities.
“After writing our bills and being able to go to the Capitol Sunday night, just us 4-Hers, sitting in the desk of our legislators and being able to voice our opinion on the bills is the highlight of this event. I had no idea how much goes into passing a bill until I attended Citizenship in Action,” said Braden Bramhall of Seneca.