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100 Brandon students visit Tallahassee in government program

BRANDON – A delegation of 125 12- to 18-year-old students from the Tampa YMCA’s Youth in Government program participated in a mock government at the state capital from Feb. 19 to 23. They boarded a bus at the North Brandon YMCA and joined more than 500 others from across the state to participate in the YMCA’s 57th Florida Youth in Government State Assembly.

The YMCA model government program started in 1936 in New York, and the first Florida YMCA youth legislature took place in December 1957 in Tallahassee. Youth in Government provides a year-long, student-run, educational experience culminating in a trip to the state assembly.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland is a Florida Youth in Government alumni. In a testimonial at the program’s website, Ross said the program “lit the fire of my desire to become a legislator.”

Youth Governor Seth Reid, a home-schooled 12th-grader from Valrico, and 11 other officers comprised the program’s 2013 state board of directors.

The state assembly gives students the opportunity to meet state senators and representatives and sit in their seats in the Florida State Capitol, where the students debate and vote on bills and campaign for statewide Youth in Government offices.

“It is a great program and actually some of the bills that the previous YIG participants have written and debated have been adopted by the Florida [legislature],” said Lalita Llerena, YMCA communications director.

Local participants, from grades 9 through 12, include Apollo Beach residents Derek and Macie Jones; Riverview residents Noah Rohm, Caleb Miranda, Mackenzie Manning, Daphne Gulotta, Bradley Harwood, Daniel Eisele, Christian and Tori Conte and Logan Czyzyk; and Lithia residents Denise and Amy Shoucair, Grace Hourigan and Carolyn Diamond.

From Brandon: Logan Beach, Abby and Darby Bernaldo, Katie Douglas, Benjamin Eggert, Genna and Maria Godwin, Matthias Hamaker, Jeremiah McPadden, Andrew Murray, Colin Pearson, Mackenzie and Ali Renckens, Becca Ross, Dustin Schrimsher, Jonathan Shirey, Andrew and Grant Sims and Stephen Thomasson.

From Valrico: Christa and Josh Beriswill, Marina Fredrickson, Monica Gray, Maria Hatchett, David Little, Braxton Mann, Melanie McBride, Mackenzie McFarland, Danielle and Seth Reid, Krista Reinhardt, Kenneth Tielemans, Christian Wertz and Ethan Young.

From Seffner: Sarah Orozco and Allen Rogers; Kenny Young from Thonotosassa; Justin Phelps from Plant City; Seth Feldhouse from Land O’Lakes and Nathan Dreiser from Marco Island.

Send news of community interest to Barbara Routen at [email protected]

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