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The 2nd Annual Buena Vista Civics Bee

Local Hosts

The Buena Vista Civics Bee is co-hosted by the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of Chaffee County. It is a nationwide competition organized by the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation and hosted by state and local Chambers across the US!

In early 2024, middle school students were invited to submit essays about how they would solve a local problem of their choice. Local judges scored the essays through an anonymous judging platform. The top 20 finalists have been notified and will go on to the live local competition this spring. Winners then compete in the State Civics Bee Competition. Winners from the states go on to compete in the national competition in Washington, DC.

Civic Dialogue

We believe in the importance of creating a safe space to cultivate and celebrate the skills of civic dialogue. We honor the history of the democratic experiment and the importance of intergenerational conversation and action to ensure it continues. Democracy is messy, and fascinating and requires our participation in furtherance of the Constitution's invitation to create "a more perfect Union."

The BV Chamber of Commerce, The League of Women Voters of Chaffee County along with our Event Sponsors, The Ark Valley Voice, High Country Bank, First Colorado Land Office, Buena Vista Heritage, and Full Circle Real Estate Group are dedicated to supporting civic knowledge and dialogue in our community.

Student Essays & Live Competition

In January of each year, the essay competition opens. Middle school students are invited to identify a problem in their community and write about how they would solve that problem.

Any 6th, 7th, or 8th grade student residing in Colorado with an idea about using civics to improve their community may review the rules and submit an essay application on this page.

This year 77 students submitted essays for the Buena Vista local competition. They were observant, and heartbreaking, and wise, and well researched and we adults have to get better at solving the problems the kids are asking us to solve.

Congratulations to the 2024

Top 20 Finalists!

You'll be moving on to the

Live Civics Bee Competition!!!

Andee Quilico

Caden Courson

Cassandra Sandmeier

Daniel Young

Elizabeth Savoren

Emmett Hachmann

Eva Montgomery

Faith Ruggeri

Joseph Drexler

Kaia Rasmussen

Mai Ly Sanderson

Max Saltzman

Olivia Bearss

Olivia Rasmussen

Ryder Moore

Sara Coates

Simon Allen

Skylar Bowers

Taos Williams

Wyatt Welch

Buena Vista Civics Bee Live Competition!

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Doors open: 2:30

Competition: 3:00-5:00pm

The competition will start promptly at 3:00pm

Plan to arrive early and be in your seats by 3:00.

Photo by Jan Wondra, Ark Valley Voice
Photo by Jan Wondra, Ark Valley Voice

The top 20 finalists will go on to compete in the live, in-person Local Civics Bee Event in Buena Vista!


Buena Vista Heritage Museum

506 E. Main Street, Buena Vista, Colorado 81211


The event is free and open to the public.

Master of Ceremony

Dan R., Heart of the Rockies Radio

Keynote Speaker

Suzy Kelly, Local historian and author


We are pleased to announce the esteemed judges for the live competition!

Libby Faye, Mayor of Buena Vista

Keith Baker, Chaffee County Commissioner

Cecilia LaFrance, Executive Director, Buena Vista Public Library

Daniel Smith, Editorial Board, Ark Valley Voice

Hannah Harn, Editor, Chaffee County Times



Preparing for the Live Civics Bee Competition

The community is invited to study along with the Finalist as they prepare for the Live Civics Bee Competition. Download the study guide.

Audience members during the live competition are invited to log into the quiz platform and enter your answers in real time right along with the competitors! You will be scored and see how you stack up against the winners.

Finalists Meetings: April 1, 2024 5:30-6:30pm. Finalists will be notified about meeting location.

Watch Highlights from last year's National Civics Bee Finals in Washington, DC.

Press Coverage

Screenshot 2024-03-26 at 5.35.46 PM

BV Buzz Newsletter

March 13, 2024

Hello Chamber Members & Friends,

I have had the great honor to read 77 essays written by local middle school students for the Civics Bee competition. What I have learned, or what has been confirmed, is that kids have important things to say. We host the Civics Bee which is an annual, nationwide event along with our co-hosts, The League of Women Voters of Chaffee County, because we believe that an intergenerational civic dialogue is absolutely vital to a well functioning society and must be cultivated.

The kids were asked to identify a problem in the community and explain how they would solve it. They wrote about problems that I also care about like bullying and violence in the schools, safe walking routes to school and around town, housing inequities and forest management, litter and environmental issues, ai and plagiarism, cultivating curiosity in the educational process, after school activities and clubs, discrimination at school, child care, and so much more.

They are paying attention and collectively they know the problems that need to be solved and they've got great ideas to move us all forward into a better future.

I believe it's up to us adults to instill in the youth that these problems can be solved. That we can do it. That we hear them and we see that's it's worth doing. We teach them by example, by taking the dialogue and the community needs seriously, by accepting no less than constant, collective improvement. We teach them to not become complacent and hopeless by celebrating together the possibilities and the successes that arise from robust civic dialogue.

Civic Dialogue is hard. People often disagree and that's ok and good and that's how important conversations go and it's important to learn how to do it. That is why I am so pleased to be able create a safe space to share ideas, be heard, be inspired and to think about next steps towards addressing the real needs of our community and meeting the needs of our times.

The top 20 finalists are now preparing for the live competition on April 14, 2024 at the Buena Vista Heritage Museum. The top 3 winners will go on to the statewide competition and the state winners go onto Washington, DC from there.

It's kind of a big deal and last year BV's very own Joseph Drexler won second in the state! Joseph is back in the local top 20 again this year so the bar is high for the live competition!

This week, I invite you let a kid in your life know you hear them and respect their ideas. Be curious about something they are saying, or thinking, or feeling. Hide their phones and have a real conversation (haha) or in some way show them what's important to them, is important.


Liz Morgan, MA, FNTP, RWP, JD
Executive Director
Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce


Buena Vista Civic's Bee Deadline Fast Approaching

January 24, 2024, Ark Valley Voice

"The deadline for middle school students to enter the Annual Civics Bee is just a few days away on January 22, 2024. The National Civics Bee encourages students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade to participate by engaging in civics and contributing to their communities.

The Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce co-sponsors the National Civics Bee with the Chaffee County League of Women Voters (LWVCC) and the Colorado and National Chambers of Commerce." FULL ARTICLE

Screenshot 2024-03-26 at 5.46.56 PM

Drexler earns second in CO civics bee contest

May 25, 2023, Chaffee County Times

"… 15 middle school students from across Colorado gathered at Denver to test their civics knowledge in the National Civics Bee state competition."


2023 winners Chaffee County Times

BV National Civics Bee honors winners

April 21, 2023, Chaffee County Times

"The top 20 middle school students were chosen from their essay entries and the second phase of the first annual Buena Vista National Civics Bee proceeded April 18 at the Surf Hotel’s Ivy Ballroom.

The 20 students competing included sixth graders Maddyn Barnaby, Carly Shepherd, Mason Emilsson, Grady Wingfield, Emmett Hachmann, Mason Young and Zachary Leon; seventh graders Sara Coates, Landon Labounta, Jaden Depew, Andee Quilico and Joseph Drexler; and eighth graders Morgan Arnold, Maya Lyle, Cali Barnthouse, Danni McGrath, Paige Landers, Jamie Nall, Aberlyn Leon and Jenna Shepherd." FULL ARTICLE

Co-Hosts of the Civics Bee!

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Thank you Sponsors!

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