Nowadays what are six teenage boys to do on a Saturday afternoon in Genoa? A certain group of enterprising young men, the “Genoa 6”, volunteer for the reelection campaign of President Obama.
Jason Helle, 17, a senior at Genoa High School, got together five of his buddies to run the neighborhood team for the President’s campaign in his community.
As neighborhood team lead, Helle is responsible for turning out the vote for the President in Genoa and in precincts in western Ottawa County. Helle’s initial goal as neighborhood team lead was to deliver 250 votes for President Obama, which he far exceeded. He has been so successful in organizing and recruiting volunteers that he was asked to take on additional responsibilities in other parts of Ottawa County. During the first Get-out-the-Vote weekend event, Helle directed the Port Clinton staging location and reported numbers to the campaign.
Helle’s core team operates like a band of brothers. The Genoa 6 include John Belsky, 16, Clay Parlette, 18, Jacob Cameron, 17, Nick Mortensen, 17, and Carlito Avila, 18. A main staging base of operations of the Genoa 6 is Helle’s garage. Members of the Genoa 6 fit their political activities between school and extracurricular activities, sports and hanging out.
Youth participation helps make connections and transmit information faster and in new and creative ways through social media. The Genoa 6 are directed and highly motivated students who are up on their current events. They know the issues in society that matter, and sometimes find themselves awakening their peers to voting. Helle states, “The President’s policies for social equality and middle class opportunities make for a better America for my generation. This also sets an example for future generations worldwide.” The Genoa 6 are currently applying to college and looking to new horizons.