Youth in Government offers unique learning experience

Park students attend local conference


Roberto Alvarez

City Council member Larry Kraft speaks to Park students Jan. 13. Youth and Government focuses on teaching the inner workings of government

Roberto Alvarez

As a way for students to get more of an insight into government and how it works, Park students received the opportunity to experience what it’s like dealing with everyday politics at a local conference Jan. 5-8. 

For sophomore Abigail Oppegaard, joining Youth in Government gave her more experience on the inner-workings of government and how it can help her in the future. 

“It gives you a chance to learn public speaking skills and as somebody who’s considering possibly going into the government, I think it gives you a lot of good experience and understanding the procedures that they do,” Oppegaard said. 

According to sophomore Alex Hoag, the experience was very meaningful because it was fun while being a good learning experience. 

“I thought it would be really fun. I’m interested in how the government works, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn,” Hoag said. 

Teacher and coordinator Emma Engebretson said that she had an amazing time running this group of Park kids and gave great praise for Park students who were excited and motivated to learn more about the program. 

“They are super independent and self-sufficient. It’s been really great to support them and cheer them on in the conference and see their brilliance. It’s been really great to just like to support them and cheer them on at the conference and see, like, their brilliance here,” Engebretson said

Before the conference occurred, Hoag said that there was a lot of prep work to be done. Students were immersed in the process by creating bills and observing how the conference was actually going to work was a big part of it.

“I was a legislator so I prepped the bill and then presented it. Similar to ours, we went to the house then senate and presented it there in front of like 50 to 100 people. If that passes, it goes to the lieutenant governor and then they can veto it, pass it and then theoretically, it would become a law,” Hoag said.

According to Engebretson, a lot of the program depends on what the students want. Despite it only being their first year participating, if they’re up for the challenge next year she said that she would gladly step in again and help. 

“The program largely depends on if the students want to continue the club and if they want to continue coming to the conferences. This year was a little difficult. We’ve got our first year and are done so that it could be easier to start up earlier next time,” Engebretson said.