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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus helped celebrate the 73rd annual Youth-in-Government Day on Friday, April 6th with more 70 students from 11 local school districts at the County’s Government Center.
The Orange County Youth Bureau and Orange/Ulster BOCES hosted the event, which highlighted the continued dedication and support that our local schools and officials have for the future leaders of this country.
“It was a pleasure to have an opportunity to spend time with and get to know some of the students,” Neuhaus said. “They are a bright group of young men and women and they all have bright futures ahead of them. It was encouraging to see the connection between the students and Orange County representatives. I’d like to see even more school districts get involved.”
Eleven school districts from Orange County participated in Youth-in-Government Day – Chester, Cornwall, James I. O’Neill, Middletown, Minisink Valley, Newburgh, Pine Bush, S.S. Seward, Valley Central, Warwick, and Washingtonville. Students spent much of the morning shadowing representatives from Orange County’s 24 departments, including Emergency Services, Office for the Aging, Social Services and the Youth Bureau. Some students who participated were elected to positions such as County Executive, District Attorney, Sheriff and Family Court Judges.
Students elected to the positions of County Legislators were able to use their debating skills and participate in a mock legislative session. From there, they watched a real Orange County legislative session in the County’s Legislative Chambers in the Government Center. The day concluded with a luncheon at the Holiday Inn in the Town of Wallkill, where students had informal discussions with Neuhaus, District Attorney David Hoovler, County Legislators and other County officials.
“I am just so impressed each year by the young people who take the time to get involved in our local government,” Orange County Youth Bureau Director Rachel Wilson said. “We had the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with many students during our County Team meeting. Having students express their opinions and give suggestions to School Superintendents, County Department Heads and Commissioners is a perfect example of having our young people be change agents for issues affecting youth and families in Orange County.”
Wilson encouraged students to continue exploring their interest in government by applying to the Orange County Summer Youth Internship Program. Coordinated by the Orange County Youth Bureau, this program provides unpaid work experience to high school students who are sophomores, juniors or graduating seniors. Volunteers have the opportunity to gain work experience in a variety of county departments. Students can contact the Youth Bureau at 615-3620 about this and many other programs serving youth and families.