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Northfield Youth Have a Capitol Experience

April 1, 2024

Twenty-eight high school students from Northfield traveled to St. Paul on Feb. 27 to participate in advocacy activities as part of Youth Day at the Capitol and Future Farmers of America (FFN) Day at the Capitol.

Youth on Boards members began their day at the Minnesota History Center, where youth representatives from the Minnesota Youth Council led advocacy training. Participants worked in small and large groups to discuss what issues felt most important to bring to their meeting with Rep. Kristi Pursell in the afternoon. Issues included racial equity, public transit, out-of-school time supports for at-risk youth, and affordable housing in Northfield. 

FFA students also had the opportunity to meet with Pursell and discuss Minnesota Agriculture policies. In both meetings, Pursell was generous with her time and provided important insight and transparency about the policy-making process and the financial balancing act that many legislators must navigate. 

Youth on Boards and FFA members were also able to meet other congressional leaders and sit in on mock bill hearings at the Capitol, hosted by the Minnesota Youth Council. These events provided students not only the chance to put a face to a name, but also to hear about the roles congressional leaders play. In mock bill hearings, youth got an inside look at the legislative process–putting what students learned in civics class into action.

“Youth Day at the Capitol was a wonderful experience! It’s a unique way to learn about advocacy and meet with legislators that represent my community,” said Noa Marohl, a junior at NHS.

Youth Day at the Capitol is an annual event. In Northfield, the Mayor’s Youth Council partners with the District Youth Council–both supported by HCI’s Youth on Boards program. With funding from Northfield YouthBank, youth are able to attend this event at no cost. Providing youth collaborative opportunities for funding, activities, and feedback is central to HCI’s vision of creating communities where all youth thrive.

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