NINETEEN HIGH school seniors from Bedford County Youth Leadership visited the state Capitol on their annual State Government Day trip on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. The purpose of the trip was to expose the youth, participating in youth leadership, to what it’s like to work for the state government.
Each month the students travel to different area within the county to learn about various careers. They have special days each month like “Public Safety Day,” “Medical Social Services Day,” “Education Finance and Real Estate Day,” and “Industry Day,” among many other activities.
During State Government Day, students learned about a day in a senator’s and lawmaker’s life, talked to the secretary of state, and participated in a mock legislative session.
During their mock legislative session in the house chambers, a member of their adult leadership class volunteered to pres- ent a bill to the group. One of the youth leadership members volunteered to be the speaker of the house, facilitating the pass- ing of the bill.
In addition to receiving a hands-on experience in the house chambers, they toured the Capitol building, which Car- ol Garrette said impacted the group tre- mendously. Garrette is the communica- tions coordinator for the Bedford County School District.
Shelbyville Central High School senior Slayden Taylor said, “The opportunities in the Capitol are vast and expansive, with several ways to be a part of not only the Tennessee community and government but also American history.”
Cascade High School senior Annie Arnold said the Capitol visit prepared her tobe a leader. “I feel like my experience at the Capitol has further prepared me to become a leader by allowing me to see that not everything is a one-person job; everyone needs help and a team to provide support and give more of an impact to a community.”
Arnold said the most exciting part of the experience was learning about the history of the Capitol building and the history of the state leaders, and artists who helped create Tenneessee’s heritage. State leadership pos- itively impacted the students’ lives, but the students also made an impact on some of the city’s most outstanding leadership.
Impressed by the students’ engagement and interactive questions during Local Gov- ernment Tourism and History Day, Bedford County Mayor Chad Graham invited sev- eral students to talk on the monthly “Local Government Talk Show” radio program.
Garrette said the students’ ability to ask questions and engage with leadership was telling. “I thought that was telling and il- lustrative how these youth have stepped up to think, engage, question, and explore, through this program.”
Garrette said that the Leadership Bedford class is different from other leadership pro- grams because it combines youth and adult classes, which provides both groups with the ability to learn and grow from one another.
She said, “These are hopefully our fu- ture leaders, and it’s great for them to be together in this experience.”
Garrette encourages community mem- bers to continue to support the Bedford youth by supporting the chamber of com- merce and allowing their employees to serve on the Leadership Bedford board. “The chamber and the chamber board sup- port go hand-in-hand in developing our young and adult leaders.” -GN