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2010 Missouri FCCLA Legislative Shadowing Project

On February 23-24, 2010 55 Missouri FCCLA members met in Jefferson City to participate in the 11th annual Legislative Shadowing Project.  These students, all high school juniors and seniors from across Missouri, applied for their place in this competitive program and were chosen to represent the Missouri FCCLA association to our elected officials.

Representative Mike Lair with members of the Missouri FCCLA State Executive Council - Missouri FCCLA photo

On Tuesday, February 23, students attended an evening dinner, keynote and orientation session.  Representative Mike Lair (R-District 007) gave a heartfelt address to the students encouraging them to be knowledgeable about the state and national economy, to make wise choices and decisions, and to work hard at whatever they want to achieve in life.  Students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed his presentation!  Representative Lair is a former educator, having taught for 38 years in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri.  His wife, Jeanne, is a family and consumer sciences teacher at Chillicothe High School, along with co-teacher Kristi Christy.

2010 Legislative Shadowing participants - Missouri FCCLA photo

On Wednesday, February 24, students spent the day shadowing Representatives, Senators, and staff members of elected officials.  Students were spotted throughout the Capitol Building - being introduced on the House and Senate floors, attending committee meetings on topics such as education and the state budget, and interacting with other visitors and lobbyists that were also seeking time with the Representatives and Senators.

Students sharing project experiences - Missouri FCCLA photo

At the end of the shadowing experience, students met again and discussed their experiences of the day.  Students were genuinely impressed with the work of the person they shadowed - many didn't realize how much information an elected official must process each day, how much is demanded of their time, or how many people show up to lobby for a particular cause.  And of course, many of the students were amazed at the fast pace of the legislative session - and how much walking is done throughout a day- and how many steps are climbed!

Each of the students will now go back to their local community and prepare a presentation about their Legislative Shadowing experience.  Students will share this information with a variety of audiences - including administrators and school board members.  They each document their activities and submit a report to the project coordinator, as well as suggestions for continued improvement of the project.

Why does Missouri FCCLA sponsor this project?  For some students, public service is a career goal, and projects such as this help them refine future plans.   FCCLA believes that all students are an important part of their local communities.  Leadership development through FCCLA can help these students not only make a positive difference right now, but also in the future.  Projects such as this can help them choose to be an active citizen - to vote, to volunteer for community projects and committees, and to make their voice heard.

Thank you to all the FCCLA chapter advisors, students, MoEFACS members($500 sponsorship) and Marcia Ritter (program coordinator) who make this event such a success each year.  Special thanks to the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri Senate members who agree to participate in this project and make our students feel so welcome.  We are already looking forward to the 2011 event!

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