Cuyahoga County students Jerald Goins of New Tech East High School and Emeka Ezepre of St Martin DePorres High School were two of the thirty-three high school students from across the state who learned how to take action in the government process by participating in the Ohio Youth Capitol Challenge program. Sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, 4-H and FFA, the policy development program took place Feb. 18-19 in Columbus. Part of the program included breakfast at the Statehouse where the students met with state legislative leaders and toured the Capitol.
During the 1 ½-day event, the students were divided up into teams with the goal of identifying an issue that they wanted to work on in their community. Examples were the importance of manure storage, water quality education vs. regulation, benefits of community gardens, ways for communities to deal with the environmental impact of oil and gas mining and how to provide fresh produce in communities. The students worked together on their proposals during the meeting and will continue to work on them this spring. On , they will do a presentation at the Ohio State Fair, and the team with the best presentation will receive money to help make its project a reality.
“The Capitol Challenge program brings together youths ages 14-18 from around the state to learn about advocacy, the policy development process and how to take an active role in community leadership. They learn about the policy development process by actively engaging in it and choosing a policy issue to prepare a project and presentation on its implementation,” said Sandy Kuhn, director of education and industry outreach for Ohio Farm Bureau.