Capitol Youth Project

"Students Experiencing Government"

co-hosted by
Secretary of State Chet Culver &
First Lady Christie Vilsack

The Capitol Project is a nonpartisan program designed for Iowa high school students in grades 9-11. The program provides students with an opportunity to learn first-hand about state government. Participants are in Des Moines at the State Capitol for three days learning about the legislative process and government agencies. They have the opportunity to meet with legislators, statewide elected officials, and staff from government agencies. The students also work through a mock legislative process where they draft legislation, meet in committees, and conduct a session of debate.

Two 3-day sessions will be held during the Legislative Session in 2000, along with the plan to continue holding sessions in future years. The Capitol Project pilot program held in April 1999 was very successful. The following are comments from the students who participated in the program:

o "I give the program a 10! I have learned more about government that I ever dreamed was possible. It will be very beneficial in my future."

o "The program went beyond all expectations. This was a great experience."

o "Everything improves after the first year, imagine how fun it will be next year."

o "I really enjoyed this program. It made me realize the real values of government. I would rate this program extremely high and wish I could come back next year."

o "The program met my expectations because I am leaving with new friendships and a new understanding of the legislative process."

o "I loved the mock legislative floor debates. A learning experience I will never forget. I plan to register to vote as soon as I am 17½ so I can get involved. I hope to use this as a building block in the future for my career."

Capitol Project was developed by Secretary of State Chet Culver and First Lady Christie Vilsack to encourage involvement by Iowa's young people in the democratic process. For more information, contact the Secretary of State's office at 515-281-8993 or go to the youth section of the Secretary of State's webpage at