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April 25th, 2012

This Week in Orange County 4-25-12

Orange County Executive Edward Diana
Goshen - The April meeting of the Orange County Legislature marked one of my favorite events of the year - Orange County Youth in Government Day. A tradition begun by the “first lady” of Orange County, Amy Bull Crist, and carried on by former County Historian Ted Sly, Youth in Government Day provides high school students with a first-hand look at how County government works. The event is made possible each year thanks to the hard work and dedication of Youth in Government coordinator Bob Sassi, as well as the many school advisors and staff from Orange-Ulster BOCES and our own Youth Bureau.

The students who attended Youth in Government Day had the opportunity to shadow department heads, participate in a mock legislative session, and attend an actual meeting of the Orange County Legislature. The students who shadowed the Executive Office even joined Chairman Pillmeier and me in reading two proclamations at the start of the meeting.

Another great way for students to build their resumes and gain valuable work experience for college applications is through the Orange County Youth Bureau’s summer student internship program. This program provides high school students with unpaid work experiences in a variety of County departments. Participating students will gain practical hands-on knowledge about working in an office, a specific area of County government, and valuable inter-personal skills. Students may be able to count this volunteer community service time toward school, scout, religious, and other service hour requirements. Those students interested in applying for a summer internship should visit the Youth Bureau pages on for an application.

While it’s important at any age, I believe it is critical that we work to develop an appreciation for community service in our youth as early as possible. Volunteerism reaps many rewards, provides personal satisfaction, and serves a much-needed role in our communities. At the Youth in Government Day luncheon, we recognized one young lady who embraced the concept of giving back at an early age.

Jillian Dolce, an 8th grader at Minisink Valley Middle School, was recently named Distinguished Finalist and one of the top youth volunteers for 2012 in the annual Prudential Spirit of Community awards. This is an extraordinary honor as more than 26,000 young people across the nation participated in the program. Through the charity she organized, “One Step at a Time,” Jillian has raised more than $40,000 for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Keep up the great work Jillian!

Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.

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