Barbour County students returned from an exciting three-day experience in Charleston with the HI-Y Eighth Grade Youth and Government Seminars.
Selected representatives from Belington Middle 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 YMCA as one of its many civic education activities, "These seminars are a fantastic opportunity for our students to see government in operation," said Lois Nelson, executive director. "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."
Representing Barbour County are, from left in the front row, Riley Haddix; Julie Francis; Ryan Vest; and Sean Curtis; in the middle row are Gina Layhew; Kurstin Ramsey; Chelsea Weese; Cari Carpenter; and Sarah Snyder; and in the back row are Moke Post; Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston; Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor; and Delegate Mary Poling, D-Barbour.
Now celebrating its 30th year, the HI-Y Eighth Grade Youth and Government Seminars are available to every school in the state through a unique partnership with the West Virginia Department of Education. Throughout three different weeks, more than 300 students meet with their legislators, experience how a bill becomes a law, tour the inner workings of the Capitol and Governor's Mansion, see the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and participate in a Mock Legislative session.
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.
"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," Tinder said.
More information on Youth and Government Seminars or other programs is available at www.hi-y.org.