Public policy, fellowship and learning more about how government works were part of the March 5 opening session for participants in the 2022 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge.
Students ages 14 to 18 and three college mentors gathered in Columbus to discuss agricultural issues and policies as part of the annual program, which is a collaboration between Ohio Agricultural Bureau, Ohio FFA and Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development. Ohio Youth Capital Challenge is an interactive educational program that engages youth in the civic life of their community. With the help and guidance of mentors, students form teams to identify issues and problems facing their community. After researching a specific topic, they develop a public policy plan to propose to the appropriate government leaders.
“It’s impressive how quickly students focus on issues that are important to them and realize the impact of policy decisions,” said Sally McClaskey, Program Manager, Education and Marketing, Ohio 4-H Youth Development. .
Initial policy proposals ranged from agricultural safety in driving lessons, to water quality and pollution, to agricultural education in colleges, and even electoral politics.
The next step in the challenge is for stewards to work with their team members and mentors on their issue. Each of the five teams will present their policy proposal on May 20 and compete to win scholarships as part of the challenge.
Participants and mentors include:
Team 1: Brooke Kilgore (Paulding County), Olivia Parnell (Vinton County) and Landon Shelpman (Clark County)
Team 2: Jalyn Klopfenstein (Paulding County) and Marley Snyder (Wayne County)
Team 3: Zoe Digel (Greene County) and Julie Headings (Union County)
Team 4: Mackenzie Dixon (Madison County) and Max Shawhan (Hamilton County)
Team 5: Layla Gray (Guernsey County) and Michael Riley (Delaware County)
Team 6: Grace LaMarr (Auglaize County) and Dalton Mullins (Fayette County)
Anya Demshar from Wilmington College, Ryanna Teitje from Ohio State University and Madyson Little from Oklahoma State University.