Local youth shadow civic leaders for Grundy County Government Day

MORRIS, Ill. – The University of Illinois Extension 4-H held their annual Government Day on Wednesday.  Over 60 middle school students and over 30 government officials converged in Morris at the administration building, courthouse, and off-site to job shadow county officials and learn more about local government.

“This year was a little different and we were excited to be able to include the Morris Fire & Ambulance Protection District which we haven’t been able to do before - students were able to gather at Station One downtown where on duty firefighters gave a presentation and tour of the fire station” says Brooke Baker-Katcher, Grundy county 4-H program coordinator, “this was a great bookend to a day of civic learning and it was great to include the awesome folks at the fire station.”

Government day participants are seated to the left, a large fire engine is visible on the right
Government Day Participants ended the day at Station One in Morris, IL

After arriving for the day and following a brief word of welcome, participants went directly with participating county officials to learn more about their job and how they serve the community.  These officials included the County Coroner, Sheriff, Probation, Health Department, State’s Attorney, and much more.

Youth learned about the importance of local government and how many jobs come together to help run the county.  According to Katcher, this is one of ways that Government Day stands out from the crowd: “With Grundy being such a welcoming county, we are unique in our ability to offer this program due to our amazing relationship with the schools and county.  Students who participate in this unique program are able to experience the fullness of county government and learn how they might be able to make a difference in their community in the future.”   

Participants for Government Day were chosen directly by government officials.  Area school classrooms wrote essays answering the prompt “what government official would you like to job shadow and why.”  Over 490 essays were turned in from most Grundy county schools.  From there, each government official read threw and chose a limited number as winners who were then invited to Government Day.

After shadowing their county official, students received a tour of the Grundy County Jail and ate lunch at the Morris fire station before receiving a tour of the Morris Fire & Ambulance District station one. 

Thanks is extended to Chief Steffes and all of the firefighters at the Morris Fire Department as well as all the government officials who participated in this event.

4-H is a youth program which prides itself with building civically active youth who will become changemakers. If you are interested in 4-H, please call the University of Illinois Extension Office at 815-942-2725 or visit go.illinois.edu/About4hGKW.


SOURCE:  Brooke Baker-Katcher, 4-H Program Coordinator

WRITER:  Anthony Warmack, Communications & Marketing Program Coordinator

ABOUT ILLINOIS 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.

ABOUT EXTENSION Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

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