Monday, December 15, 2008

Seeking students who want to work a week in Olympia as a page

Noting some rather embarrassing results from a recent civics survey of young people, many legislators, including Rep. Jim Moeller, are urging students to consider working as legislative pages in the upcoming 2009 session.
Moeller, who represents the Vancouver area, was struck that most 15- to 26-year-olds could name the reigning “American Idol” and that a big majority also knew that the cartoon “Simpsons” live in a fictional town called Springfield. Sadly, though, not nearly as many young people could say much about their own nonfictional state government.
“We need to get more citizens engaged in the government process – and that certainly includes young citizens,” the lawmaker explained. “Students who serve as a legislative page in Olympia learn a great deal about their state’s political system.”
The Legislative Page Program provides a week-long, hands-on lesson in civics for students between 14 and 16 years old. Pages are paid a salary and work a regular business day, delivering messages, distributing documents on the legislative floor, and taking care of other errands. They also attend page school for two hours during the workday, where they learn key concepts about government. For young people traveling from distant parts of the state, private housing is available through host families who live in the Olympia area.
The 2009 session will run from January 12 through late April. Students who want to be considered for a page position should apply as soon as possible. To find out more about the Page Program, go to and click on either the House of Representatives Page Program or the Senate Page Program. Applications can be downloaded from the Web site and must be sent to a representative or senator for consideration. From this Page Program Web site, interested young people can navigate to Web sites (with addresses) for their local legislators.