Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County proudly hosted the Youth-in-Government program on Friday, April 8th, with approximately 55 students from eight local school districts at the County’s Government Center.
The Orange County Youth Bureau and Orange/Ulster BOCES co-host Youth-in-Government Day which highlights the continued commitment and support local schools and officials have in developing young leaders from around the County.
“Each year, we are impressed by the young people who take the time to get involved in our local government,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “They actively participated in the different activities during the day, and I know that everyone enjoyed spending time with them. We are all proud of these students and our partnership with Orange/Ulster BOCES.”
Two students, Arthur Armstrong, a senior at James I. O’Neill High School, and Warwick sophomore Lena Jodry were assigned to the County Executive’s Office as part of Friday’s program. County Executive Neuhaus participated in a Zoom meeting with Armstrong and Jodry, and other students, who were at the Government Center.
Neuhaus is currently deployed with the United States Navy Reserves in Europe as part of the response to the crisis in Ukraine.
Eight districts from Orange County participated in Youth-in-Government Day –Cornwall, Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery, Middletown, Pine Bush, Port Jervis, Valley Central, Warwick, and Washingtonville. Students spent the morning shadowing representatives from 17 Orange County departments, including, Emergency Services, Office for the Aging, Social Services, Probation, and the County Executive’s Office. A few student participants were elected to positions such as County Executive, District Attorney, Sheriff, and County and Family Court Judges.
Students also sat in on a session with the Orange County Legislature at the Government Center.
“As a co-planner for Youth-in-Government Day, we appreciate the dedicated elected County officials and the representatives from County departments who invest their time to give youth a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to work in public service,” said Rachel Wilson, Orange County Youth Bureau Executive Director.
Youth-in-Government Day is a part of the Youth-In-Government Program coordinated by Orange/Ulster BOCES in partnership with schools throughout the County. The program provides students with the opportunity to learn firsthand about the democratic process and encourages students to become active participants in government, particularly county government. Orange County’s Youth-In-Government Program was inspired in the early 1940s by Orange County resident and Congresswoman Katherine St. George who felt that people were well acquainted with national politics but lacked understanding of how their local town and county governments functioned.
Wilson encouraged students to continue exploring their interest in government by applying to the Summer Youth Government Immersion Program coordinated by the Orange County Youth Bureau. This free program provides unpaid work experience to high school students who are current sophomores, juniors or graduating seniors. Volunteers gain real life work experience in County departments. Contact the Youth Bureau at 615-3620 or visit www.facebook.com/OrangeCountyYB about this and many other programs serving youth and families.