Imagine yourself as a high-school student serving as school board president, overseeing a board meeting. You get to do all the jobs a school board president would: controlling the agenda, calling for motions and acting as the head of a group that sets policies regarding public education.
For some students, this imagination of a city meeting came true in the 20th annual Davis High School Youth in Government program. Organized by sophomore Annie Leck and junior Tara Mullen, YIG took place last Tuesday and Thursday.
Youth in Government is a program in which students are able to shadow and learn the roles of the Davis leaders in dealing with the challenges of the community and to see how a local government functions on a daily basis. In addition, participants get to run a mock council meeting to experience what a city meeting is really like.
Positions that were shadowed range from DHS Principal to City of Davis Mayor, from Police Chief to Active Transport Coordinator.
Leck said she hopes Youth in Government provides a unique opportunity for students and participants experience the responsibilities of potential future jobs.
“We hope that the participants realize how much it takes to run the different departments of our city and maybe even open up new options for their future job interests,” Leck said.
On Tuesday, applicants who were chosen for specific governmental positions shadowed their community member, focusing on understanding their leader’s job.
Junior Sarra Falakfarsa shadowed a city council member, Rochelle Swanson.
“I heard issues around from different aspects of the city and sat in meetings along with voting on issues,” Falakfarsa said.
On Thursday, participants took center stage and acted the role that they shadowed on Tuesday. The mock city meeting was televised on TV.
Falakfarsa enjoyed her experience shadowing her community leader and believes Youth in Government is a beneficial program.
“The whole experience as really rewarding and interesting. I learned a lot about the city positions and it was a great experience! It gives you a good idea of what kinds of jobs are out there!” Falakfarsa said.
Leck believes this year’s Youth in Government program was successful in balancing the fun and educational benefits.
“I think that everyone who took part in it had a really good time. I enjoyed hearing stories of all the cool things they got to do on Tuesday when they shadowed. One of the participants even got to take a fake mugshot,” Leck said.