Public policy, fellowship and interaction with state representatives were all part of the opening session for 2020 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge participants.
A total of 36 students, ages 14 to 18, and 10 mentors gathered March 3 in Columbus to discuss agricultural issues and policy as part of the annual program, which is a collaboration among Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA and Ohio State University Extension. The interactive education program engages youths in the civic life of their community. The students team up in groups to identify issues and problems facing their community. After researching a specific topic, they develop a public policy plan to propose to appropriate government leaders.
Kelsey Turner, Ohio Farm Bureau program specialist, leadership development, said the initial policy proposals ranged from reevaluating school lunch programs and requiring mental health first aid classes in high schools to using 4-H and FFA as a part of reentry programs for troubled youths.
“After spending a full day with this year’s Youth Capital Challenge participants, I am beyond impressed with the initial ideas proposed,” Turner said. “These students are passionate about tackling tough issues through public policy that will result in a better and stronger community.”
The next step of the challenge is for the youths to work with team members and mentors on their issue. On May 16, each of the 10 groups will present its policy proposal, with four chosen to compete in the finals during the 2020 Ohio State Fair.
Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.