We are pleased to announce that Happy Valley staff members, Steve Campbell and Stephani Hern, advisors to the Happy Valley Youth Council, received the statewide Civic Education Award on Oct. 13 at the League of Oregon Cities 98th Annual Conference. The Civic Education Award recognizes educators who have promoted local government education in Oregon schools. In celebration, Steve and Stephani were formally recognized during Tuesday’s City Council meeting for their achievement.
Operating as a team, Steve and Stephani have developed a broad reaching Government Awareness Program focused on early civic education for elementary-aged students, a model Youth Council program, and a diversion program for youth offenders. The efforts undertaken by Steve and Stephani have also had statewide impacts, from organizing the first annual Oregon Youth Summit in Salem, which drew 100 Youth Advisory Committee members from across the state, to assisting other communities to establish their own Youth Advisory Councils.
Going beyond civic education, Steve and Stephani have placed a special emphasis on hands-on experience. Youth practice sitting behind the City Council dais to run a meeting; they are equipped to identify current community challenges and mentored to design and implement solutions; they are supported in directly lobbying their elected officials; and they are invited to work shoulder-to-shoulder with public staff to better understand the weight of personal decision-making.
Through this action-oriented methodology, Steve and Stephani normalize civic responsibility from an early age, teaching students to be problem solvers and community builders. These skills are reinforced into adulthood, whereby participants continue to be thriving and vibrant members of community.
Several community groups partnered with the City of Happy Valley to endorse Steve and Stephani’s nomination. Special thanks are extended to House Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer (HD-5), the Happy Valley Youth Council, cities of Gladstone, Hillsboro and Lake Oswego, North Clackamas School District #12, Happy Valley Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, Beatrice Cannady Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, Happy Valley Business Alliance, and Happy Valley Parks and Recreation Foundation.