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October 2021 Meeting - The Future of Democracy and the Role of Young People

Our October 2021 meeting featured a presentation by Dr. Robert Shumer, an international expert on youth civic engagement, about the importance of involving young people in the civic process to ensure that American democracy is preserved and strengthened. We discussed the role of youth in creating civic education and voter engagement programs in order to involve young people in the democratic process.


Orville Lindquist, state director of the YMCA Youth in Government program, explained what Youth in Government is, how it works, and described a new youth initiative being conducted by the YMCA's Center for Youth program.

Elise Sopelle, a LWV of Dakota County Youth Fellow for the past two years, spoke about what she did and what she learned in the program. She also described how young people can assist the League with youth outreach and engagement.


The meeting was held virtually via Zoom.


Dr. Robert Schumer Dr. Shumer is the former director of the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse at the University of Minnesota and teaches Principles of Civic Engagement at Metropolitan State University. He has taught civic education courses around the world, from Morocco to Mexico, from China to Hong Kong. He is also former president of the Minnesota Evaluation Association, former president of the National Experience Based Career Education Association, and former Vice Chair of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE).



Orville Lindquist Orville Lindquist has been with the Minnesota YMCA for more than 30 years and has been the state director of the YMCA Youth in Government program for the past 21 years. He is currently the State Program Executive of the YMCA Center for Youth Voice. He works with youth and programs around the state to engage young people in actual government activities and oversees a program where youth participate in a mock state government.



Elise Sopelle Elise Sopelle just graduated from Northwestern University and is applying for a Ph.D program at Harvard University in Religious Studies. Elise is just 19 years old, having completed half of her college education while in high school!



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