Press Release – February 4th, 2016

Wilt Legislation Assisting Youth Organization Access to Schools Passes House

RICHMOND-On Thursday the House of Delegates passed legislation patroned by Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) to help several youth organizations gain access to public schools. The bill, HB942, expresses that school boards shall provide reasonable access to youth organizations that have a federal charter as a patriotic and national organization for the purpose of encouraging student involvement. The groups that have achieved this designation include – Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, FFA, Girl Scouts, Little League Baseball, and the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

“Youth organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have a significant positive influence on the lives of young people,” Delegate Wilt stated. “This legislation will ensure their adult volunteers and leaders can have a presence in our schools, which is the obvious place to reach students and encourage involvement. These youth organizations serve a critical role in our community by building positive character attributes in young people, promoting service to others, and skill development.”

Research studies consistently show the benefit of these youth programs. When youth become involved in organizations that encourage community service, they are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. A recent report, The Role of Risk, Mentoring Experiences and Outcomes for Youth, shows that youth with adult mentors are 55% more likely to enroll in college, 78% more likely to volunteer regularly, and 130% more likely to hold leadership positions in the community.

Following bipartisan support in the House, the bill will now move to the Senate for consideration. North Carolina passed similar legislation in 2015 and other state legislatures are taking up the issue this year as well.

Delegate Wilt represents the 26th House District, which encompasses Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in June of 2010.