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County Service Day Provides Real World Legislative Experience for Local Students

Mock legislative session
Youth-in-Government students take part in a mock legislative session.

On Friday, April 7, 2017, seventy students who are members of the Orange County Youth-in-Government Program participated in Orange County Service Day which began at the Orange County Emergency Services Center in Goshen with a Mock Legislative session centering on raising the legal smoking age in Orange County to 21 years old, which was passed by the Orange County legislature in February 2017. Several students also had the opportunity to "shadow" various county officials to assume the roles of County Executive to Family Court Judge, Sheriff and County Clerk, as well as the Health Commissioner. Pictured right are students involved in the mock legislative session with Legislative Chairman Stephen Brescia (2nd from right) moderating.  

The event culminated with a luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Middletown where Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, Orange County Legislative Chairman Stephen Brescia, Orange-Ulster BOCES District Superintendent William J. Hecht and Orange County Youth in Government Coordinator Robert Sassi spoke to the students. County Executive Neuhaus encouraged the students to always look for opportunities to volunteer in their communities and expand their learning experiences before moving on from high school.  

High school students from Chester Academy, Cornwall, S.S. Seward in Florida, James I. O'Neill in Highland Falls, Middletown, Minisink Valley, Newburgh Free Academy, Pine Bush, Valley Central, Warwick Valley and Washingtonville who took part in County Service Day participated in the Amy Bull Crist Youth-in-Government Program throughout the school year.  Students took part in simulated political conventions, held elections and assumed the roles as elected government officials. 

County Service Day is coordinated by Orange-Ulster BOCES in cooperation with the Orange County Youth Bureau.  The Youth-in-Government program is one of many programs coordinated for the component school districts each year by the Orange-Ulster BOCES Division of Instructional Support Services. Youth in Government celebrated its 70th year in 2014 and is the longest running program of its kind in New York State. 

For more information about the Orange County Youth in Government program CLICK HERE