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Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Capitol Camp Encourages Student Interest in Public Policy

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Sydney Garrett

Communications Assistant

Oklahoma Farm Bureau hosted Capitol Camp, a two-day mock legislative experience for 4-H and FFA members.

photo credit: Oklahoma Farm Bureau, used with permission

To increase youth awareness about state government and agricultural advocacy, Oklahoma Farm Bureau created Capitol Camp, a two-day mock legislative experience that was first held in 2022.

For the 2023 Capitol Camp, 70 Oklahoma 4-H and FFA members were selected for the program and began preparing with a series of training webinars on drafting legislation. They were encouraged to choose topics they had a personal interest in since these would be the issues discussed at Capitol Camp. Once completed, students submitted their legislation to Oklahoma Farm Bureau staff who compiled it into a booklet.

Over the two days at the Oklahoma Capitol, students worked together in a mock legislature set in the Oklahoma House of Representatives chambers. They proposed bills, passed them through committee, brought them to the chamber floor, debated policies and voted on legislation as Oklahoma House members would.

Many students shared how incredibly impactful Capitol Camp was in opening their eyes to policy within their state and nation. One student’s idea was signed into law during the 2023 legislative session. The bill created a text message system that alerts Oklahoma residents in the event convicts escape from a correctional facility in the area. The bill was proposed due to a traumatic experience a family member had when they were kidnapped by escaped convicts.

The mock bill caught the attention of state Rep. Anthony Moore, who carried the bill through to passage. He dubbed it the “Orange Alert” bill and it was passed with wide margins in both the Oklahoma House and Senate, and then signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

“Oklahoma Farm Bureau is a longtime supporter of agriculture youth in the state from the local levels with our county Farm Bureaus to the state level through sponsorships and programs at 4-H and FFA events,” said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel. “A youth legislative experience proved to be a perfect opportunity to continue the organization’s support of youth development while shining a spotlight on agriculture and rural-focused advocacy and policy work.”

photo credit: Oklahoma Farm Bureau, used with permission

2023 Capitol Camp participants with Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell.

Capitol Camp quickly gained popularity among Oklahoma legislators and state leaders. Many of them attended the event, noting they were impressed seeing students actively interested in public policy. It was also a great opportunity for Oklahoma Farm Bureau to connect with state officials during the summer months

Oklahoma Farm Bureau looks forward to utilizing student feedback to continually foster youth interest in policy within their state. To hear from students who participated in the 2024 Capitol Camp, see this video.

New Horizon Award

Capitol Camp garnered Oklahoma Farm Bureau a 2024 New Horizon Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The award, which honors state Farm Bureaus with the most innovative new programs, is presented annually at the AFBF Convention.