COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sponsored by Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio FFA and Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development, the Ohio Youth Capital Challenge is for students, ages 14 to 18, who want to learn more about government and public policy and make a difference in their community. Participants learn how to identify local issues, create solutions and follow the process through state government.
The challenge started in early spring when groups met to learn about public policy issues and began planning their proposals. A total of seven teams made up of 16 student delegates, with help and guidance from three collegiate mentors, identified issues and problems facing their community. After researching a specific topic, they developed a public policy plan to propose to appropriate government leaders. In their final presentations, the teams described the steps necessary to have their public policy proposal adopted by the appropriate government authorities.
Topics this year included wastewater management, prison reform, rural highway infrastructure, agricultural-related school absences, pesticide use in community gardens, and agricultural education requirements in pre-K through grade 12 classrooms.
The finals of the 2022 Ohio Youth Capital Challenge were held at the Ohio Department of Agriculture in Reynoldsburg.
For taking part in this year’s contest, each student receives a $50 scholarship, and the top four scoring teams receive additional scholarships totaling $2,000.
First place: Team No. 4 – Max Shawhan of Hamilton County and Mackenzie Dixon of Madison County
Wastewater Solutions: This team explored the ramifications of sewer drain misuse and the harmful effects on the environment. The team proposed a policy solution to help combat the misuse of and illegal dumping into sewer drains.
Second place: Team No. 6 – Grace LaMarr of Auglaize County and Dalton Mullins of Fayette County
Prison Reform: Team 6 devoted its capstone project to prison recidivism rates in Ohio. The delegates discovered the challenges facing imprisoned individuals and sought solutions to provide lower recidivism rates while helping released inmates acclimate back into society.
Third place: Team No. 7 – Claire Loudon of Fairfield County, Tatumn Poff of Geauga County and Emma Smith of Morrow County
School Absences: This team explored agriculture-related school absences and the importance of youth organizations. The delegates advocated for youth organizations and agricultural-related programs to be recognized as educational experiences.
Fourth place: Team No. 3 – Zoe Digel of Greene County and Julie Headings of Union County
Ag Education: These delegates focused their efforts on agricultural education in the classroom. They specifically identified curriculum standards that could incorporate agriculture into classrooms.
Ohio Farm Bureau’s mission is working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities. Learn more at ohiofarmbureau.org.
— Ohio Farm Bureau Federation