I am a CHAMPION for Minnesota Youth!April 1, 2013
Youth Day at the Capitol 2013 was held on March 13th at the Minnesota State Capitol hosted by the Youth Policy Alliance (YPA), a collaboration of statewide agencies promoting a healthy and sustainable comprehensive youth system for all Minnesota youth. MPM is a collaborative partner in the YPA. I, along with Mai-Anh, helped plan this year’s event.
The day kicked off with a rally in the Capitol’s rotunda that was led by youth, for the youth. Two young elected officials showed their bi-partisan support by taking the stage to speak about the importance of getting involved in the community and in policy. I was amazed at how packed the rotunda was. The youth in attendance were energized and ready for the day. Mai-Anh said she could hear the young people one floor down in the Capitol building!
The first of two speakers, Senator Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) spoke about getting involved when no one believed in him. He concluded his speech by saying, “You are the future of the state of Minnesota…you can make a difference.” Next, Representative Carly Melin, (D-Hibbing) talked about the importance of voting once the youth turn 18—how this is the most basic and easy way to have their voices heard. She finished by encouraging, “It’s important for young people to step up and run for office…there’s a lot of ways to get involved.”
Throughout the day, tours were held every hour along with a scavenger hunt for prizes. Youth were encouraged to attend committee, in addition to their legislative meetings. On the social side, I was in charge of live-Tweeting throughout the day on the YPA’s Twitter account (@YPAMN) to keep everyone in the loop as to what was happening in the Great Hall and around the Capitol by using the hashtag: #youthday2013. (You can still tweet with me by searching YPAMN!)
The YPA was excited to have 334 youth attend the event with 153 adults representing 61 organizations across the state. As a group, 91 meetings were held with legislators to get the word out about the importance of youth services! Similar to last year, young people in attendance asked their legislators to be champions for youth after they shared their stories.
To view some of the many highlights from the day, you can watch this great video put together by the Minnesota Youth Intervention Prevention Association, one of the nine partner organizations behind Youth Day at the Capitol.
Overall, all in attendance felt that Youth Day 2013 was a resounding success! So much hard work went in to planning the day. It was a joy to see it played out. The best part of the day is watching the transition from nervous youth at registration to empowered advocates after their meetings is remarkable to see. Hearing the young people burst with pride when talking about their meetings with legislators proved how valuable this experience was to the youth. They felt important, valued, and heard. I felt honored to be part of the experience. Stay tuned for details on Youth Day 2014 (#youthday2014)!