On May 2, students from Cape Girardeau Central and Notre Dame Regional high schools will job shadow local government officials as they participate in the 27th Annual Optimist Youth in Government Day. The day is sponsored by the four Cape Girardeau and two Jackson Optimist Clubs.
“They get to see first-hand how city, county, and federal government works,” said Optimist Thomas M. Meyer. “The Optimist Club motto ‘Friend of Youth’ is evident in this activity. We hope this exposure to the governmental process will encourage students to become active, informed citizens in their communities,” he added.
Participants will gather at City Hall in Cape Girardeau in the Council Chambers at 8 a.m. for introductions and a general welcome. Students will then have approximately one hour and fifteen minutes with their assigned government official before gathering for a mock City Council meeting at 10:15 a.m.
Following the City Council meeting, participants will assemble at the Jackson Knights of Columbus Hall for a luncheon. Thomas Meyer, who organized the event for several years, will be the featured speaker at the luncheon.
Students will be discussing a potential smoking ban, texting while driving, deer management, bicycle lanes, and noise.
The Optimist Clubs have received two International Awards for their work on Youth in Government Day, as well as numerous state awards. There are nearly 400 Optimist Club members in Cape Girardeau and Jackson, and the founding club began 73 years ago.
For more information on Optimist Youth in Government Day, or other youth programs sponsored by local Optimist Clubs, contact Pat Patterson at 573-335-5197.
All media are invited to attend any or all of the day. Co-Chairs for the event are Representative Wayne Wallingford and local photographer Pat Patterson of Cape Girardeau.