Youth In Governance

The development of youth leadership is critical to building civic capacity and long-term community sustainability. When youth develop useful skills and build self-confidence, we establish capable, effective leaders for the next generation.  The purpose of the Racine County Youth In Governance program is to create a model of youth empowerment through direct participation in Racine County government. The overall goal is to bring a youth voice to community issues while developing confident, independent, and motivated youth leaders.

Racine County Youth In Governance Representatives (2020-2021)


The Racine County Board of Supervisors created the Racine County Youth in Governance program, which encourages youth to serve on County Board committees alongside County Board Supervisors. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Extension Racine County collaborates with the Racine County Board to administer this program.

Youth who are selected to serve gain instrumental leadership skills and knowledge from having the opportunity to serve on one of five County Board committees. These skills help them succeed in their academic and personal careers as a result of engaging in public service.

Each year youth representatives complete one or two group projects during which they hone their leadership and civic engagement skills while they serve residents of Racine County. The 2020-2021 youth representatives decided to create a Youth in Governance sponsored $250 scholarship. They worked hard securing funding, determining the application and evaluation process, and creating the application and evaluation rubric. Because of their efforts, one lucky Racine County resident will receive $250 towards financing their higher education. With the high cost of post-secondary education, every little bit helps.

See the below link for details of the application process. Send completed applications to Pam Larson at or mail your application to Extension Racine County 1072 Milwaukee Avenue, Burlington, WI 53105. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2021. Good luck!

Racine County Youth in Governance Sponsored Scholarship 2021 fillable

See past participants.


Youth and adults working together in positions of authority to make decisions and take action to strengthen organizations, communities and society.


Over 2,000 Wisconsin residents came together in county-based conversations on youth development. They identified two top priorities which emphasize public support for the role of youth in building healthy communities and a vital democracy:

  1. Create a culture in which youth are equal partners in decision making and governance.
  2. Encourage youth community service and civic involvement.

Data from a 2010 Search Institute study, “Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth – Racine County Schools,” documented that only 20 percent of youth living in Racine County perceive that their community values youth; and only 24 percent believe that youth are given useful roles in the community. These results were among the lowest of all the assets measured and were lower than similar assets measured at a national level.  In direct response to these results, the Racine County Board of Supervisors created the Racine County Youth In Governance program in 2013.



The Youth In Governance program consists of a maximum of 10 youth participants. No more than two youth will serve on a committee.  The requirements to participate in the Youth In Governance are:

  • Must be a high school freshman, sophomore or junior at the time of application;
  • Must have a GPA of 2.5 or greater on a 4.0 scale;
  • Must be a Racine County resident;
  • Must be able to attend the committee meetings, typically occurring once or twice a month;
  • Attend the Orientation in May and the Bus Tour of Racine County departments in June;
  • We encourage each Youth In Governance group to do a project and it will be decided if and to what extent by the group at a later date.

Committee meetings are held in a professional, formal manner, based on Robert’s Rules of Order. Each youth member will have a non-binding advisory vote on the committee.  The youth members will be included in all open session discussions and votes at the committee level, but will not participate in portions of a meeting which are held in closed session.  Youth will not participate in debate during a full County Board meeting; however they may participate in the public comment period, as any citizen would.  Youth members will not be paid a stipend or mileage for attending meetings.


1. Youth must be nominated for the Youth in Governance program (see nomination form below.)

2. Youth nominees will receive a Youth in Governance application to complete. Applicants must send the completed application by the deadline. The application consists of basic contact information, school, GPA, and questions about their intended objectives for the Youth In Governance program and how the program will increase their civic awareness and leadership skills.

3. The Government Services Committee of the Racine County Board will review the application materials and interview selected youth applicants. The committee will recommend up to ten candidates to the Racine County Board Chairman for official appointment.

Racine County Youth in Governance
UW-Madison, Division of Extension-Racine County
1072 Milwaukee Avenue, Burlington, WI 53105
262-767-8775 fax
711 Wisconsin Relay

 Racine County Youth in Governance is a program of Racine County Board of Supervisors
in partnership with University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension-Racine County.
An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX and ADA requirements.
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