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Boone County cadets, shown here taking their oaths of office, nearly swept the entire field of the five elected offices during the West Virginia Sheriff’s Youth Leadership Academy. The academy seeks to deter risk-taking behavior patterns by introducing the participants to recreation alternatives and educating them on the negative consequences of drugs, alcohol, and violence.

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. — The West Virginia Sheriffs’ Youth Leadership Academy is an annual six-day residential summer program for teenage citizens from throughout the state and was well-represented by Boone County last week.

The Academy seeks to deter risk-taking behavior patterns by introducing the participants to recreation alternatives and educating them on the negative consequences of drugs, alcohol and violence. The Academy provides youth with the leadership skills necessary for them to go back to their home communities and help others deal with these challenges. The Academy also encourages participation in citizenship activities and teaches responsibility and requires a certain amount of physical activity during the week.

However, the academy is for mainstream youth and should not be viewed as a juvenile “boot camp.”

Students who will graduate from eighth grade this year and enter ninth grade in the fall of 2021 are eligible to apply for a cadet position at the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Youth Leadership Academy.

Junior and senior counselors are cadets who formerly attended the YLA who desire to return and staff the Academy Camp.

This year’s camp was July 11-16 on the campus of West Liberty University in Ohio County. Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard was the camp commandant running the camp. Several Boone County students participated in the camp. A part of the camp is that cadets learn about county offices and have an opportunity to run and campaign for county offices in the camp, and an election is held with the first-year cadets voting.

The elected campers are:

Hope Keith (Boone Co.) — Circuit Court Judge

Stephen Chewning III (Boone Co.) — Prosecuting Attorney

Ender Kelly (Boone Co.) — Sheriff

AnaBeth Keith (Boone Co.) — Magistrate

Daelyn Crumm (Ohio Co.) — Circuit Court Clerk

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