Estes Park Trail Gazette – Students experience town government process

Town of Estes Park Trustees and staff hosted students of Eagle Rock School and Estes Park High School on March 19 for “Students in Government Day.” Each student played the role of a Town department head or manager and presented an issue as an action item for consideration by the Board of the Trustees. Student participants were Brindy Farrell, Drenae Thompson, Jesus Ramos, Josh Timberlake and Marolise Williams from Eagle Rock School; and Brendan Solano from Estes Park High School. 2010 marks the third year of the Students in Government Day program in Estes Park.

Since December, town staff worked with staff and students from Eagle Rock School and Estes Park High School to prepare for this year`s Students in Government Day. The program is designed to help students develop an understanding of local municipal government and to promote their participation in community affairs by teaching them how to become more informed and involved citizens and voters.

“I think it`s important for young people to understand that real people are the driving force behind our governments,” said town administrator Jacquie Halburnt on the importance of Students in Government Day. “By working with town staff and our board of trustees, it is our hope that these students will feel comfortable and eager to get involved in government throughout their lives.”

In January, the students attended an orientation led by Halburnt, deputy town administrator Lowell Richardson and the town`s seven department heads. The students learned how municipal government works, including the roles of citizens, the mayor and trustees, administration, staff and the role of each department. Students were then paired with a department head to research an issue to present at the mock town board meeting. During this time, each student met individually with his or her town advisor to refine and research their action item for presentation to the town board. The students were also asked to attend or watch one town board meeting on television.

Students in Government Day was planned by Betty Kilsdonk, director of the Town of Estes Park community services department; John Guffey, Eagle Rock School service learning instructional specialist; Ryan Plantz, Eagle Rock School service learning fellow; and Kristin Ehle, Estes Park High School social studies teacher and student council liaison. For more information, please call the Town of Estes Park Public Information Office at 970-577-3701. To receive town news by e-mail, please e-mail townadmin@estes.org.

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