To the Journal editor:
On the evening of April 16 an amazing thing happened at the Girls and Boys state Reception/orientation at the American Legion Post 44 Clubhouse.
Dr. Kirk Schott (representative of Sen. Tom Casperson) and a delegation from the city of Marquette (City Manager Bill Vajda, Mayor Bob Niemi and Commissioner Sara Cambensey) attended the event as special guests.
They shared insight about government operations; challenges they face (like the current harsh winter freezing and true need for Marquette County to be designated a state of emergency) and their personal experiences about how they became involved in government and public service.
Their audience included 19 of Marquette Senior High School's brightest and best juniors and seniors, their parents and members of the American Legion family.
These youths are either 2013 Delegates who attended the Girls or Boys state program or 2014 delegates or alternates who will attend or hope to attend the programs this summer. The American Legion Post 44 and Auxiliary Unit have been sending students to this program since 1947.
Girls and Boys State are leadership programs about how Michigan government works, conducted in a simulation format where a virtual state is created and participants from all over the state run a mock government for one week.
The students are afforded the opportunity to meet current officials in the positions they achieved through campaigning, elections or appointments and also visit the state capital. For students in the Upper Peninsula, it is a fabulous opportunity that otherwise may not happen.
Hats off to our government officials for their inspirational presentations. The timing of Gov. Rick Snyder's proclamation of a state of emergency declared for Marquette County was impeccable because it was discussed at the event and the city manager's office sent copies of the declaration and associated press release for distribution to the Girls and Boys State delegates and alternates, as it will further engage these youth with a significant and meaningful first hand experience.
I would note that some past local Girls and Boys state delegates that currently hold public office are Vajda, Commissioner Don Ryan and Marquette County Probate Judge Cheryl Hill.
The more investment our community makes sharing how government works and good citizenship with our local youths, the better off we all will be as the youths of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Girls State chairwoman
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 44