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CR-B Junior Participates in Iowa Youth Congress

November 11, 2019

Annie Ankenbauer, a 17 year-old junior at Coon Rapids-Bayard School and a member of Iowa Youth Congress recently participated in Mock Congress held in Des Moines at the Capitol building on Monday, October 28.  Iowa Youth Congress provides an opportunity for teenagers to learn about government, advocacy, civic engagement, and democracy.  During this year long commitment, high school members meet regionally to prepare proposals on issues that affect them, and attempt to enact change at the community and state level.  Iowa Youth Congress is run by the Iowa Department of Human Rights.  Congress is free and open to any high school student.

Ankenbauer saw a post on the 4-H website in the spring encouraging students to apply to be a member of Congress.  Ankenbauer wanted to experience  government in action, so applied and was accepted. In August, she met with 3 other teenagers from Audubon.  Together they made up the “West Region.”  They decided to work on a proposal about making sure there are mental health therapy services in Iowa schools.  They conducted some research, and wrote a proposal.

Every October, the entire Iowa Youth Congress meets at the Capitol building in Des Moines where they hold a Mock Congress.  They get to use the House chambers for the actual Mock Congress and sit in the same seats usually occupied by Iowa Congress members. Each of the 9 regions presenting their proposal like lawmakers usually do, with debate and voting.  Four of the proposals got voted through.  Ankenbauer’s group’s proposal did not go through.  But, then all the kids divide into committees to support the proposals that did pass.  Later in February, the kids will convene back on Capitol Hill to advocate for the proposals their committees are working on.

The other part of Iowa Youth Congress is putting in 30 service hours and doing a service project.  Ankenbauer hasn’t decided what her project will be yet- so stay tuned!  Already she has had a great experience!  She got to talk a few times into her microphone during the debates at Mock Congress.  Getting better at communicating and advocating has been some of the skills she has improved upon during this process so far.  She looks forward to meeting and talking with legislative members this year.  

“I never realized what lawmakers actually go through.  It was a cool experience!” said Ankenbauer.  “I hope to be back next year.  I feel our group will be better prepared since we have done this one year already. Maybe we can get a proposal to pass next time!”

Ankenbauer is the daughter of Joe and Connie Ankenbauer of Dedham.  

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