Participants in the Town of Parker’s Teen Court program recently took part in the
Sixth Annual Douglas County Youth Congress at the Colorado State Capitol. Hosted by the Douglas County Youth Initiative, the event provided the opportunity for local adult and young leaders to work together on policy analysis and solutions for issues that affect the lives of today’s youth.
Roughly 100 county students in grades 9 through 12 attended this year’s event on Sept. 16, marking the largest group in the program’s history. Joining the participants were adult leaders that included local educators, law professionals and court employees. Among the featured speakers were George Brauchler and Theresa Slade, the respective District Attorney and District Court Judge for the 18th Judicial District.
Several activities were featured during this year’s Youth Congress, including a mock trial featuring youth attorneys from both Parker and Castle Rock Teen Court bodies, as well as a youth judge. Members of the audience were invited to sit as jurors and deliberate on a sentence.
The students later broke off into groups to discuss and debate topics of local interest such as fracking, block schedules, violence and video games, art in school, teen driving laws, school budgets, sugary drinks, college loans and jobs. Local adult experts helped lead discussions before the groups presented their conclusions on the topics to the Youth Congress along with recommendations for new legislation.
All program participants received community service hours and the opportunity to tour the State Capitol.