YMCA Youth and Government™ is a nationwide civic engagement and servant leadership program that provides students in high school with the opportunity to represent and serve their communities through model government, leadership and professional development, advocacy, and service-learning.
Y Youth and Government™ dates back to the late 1930s. It involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized model-government programs. In Youth and Government programs, teens from across the state meet in their local clubs throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and to propose possible legislation to make state government more efficient.
The program culminates with the teens serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature. As a result of the program, young people learn about the democratic system and are trained in parliamentary procedures, legislative committee processes, debates, press relations, and lobbying techniques. Delegates learn by doing and have the opportunity to try their hand at leadership in an open and receptive learning environment.
The Youth and Government program serves over 55,000 students through 42 state programs across the country, including Washington, DC. Students can participate through a Youth and Government student organization at their school and/or through their local YMCA. These school-based or YMCA-based groups are led by student officers and advised by school faculty, community volunteers, and/or YMCA staff.
Click here for information on the Oregon Youth and Government program.
Program Goal: To develop young men and women who will be better citizens by being both knowledgeable and active in determining the future of our democracy
- To provide training and experience in understanding the legislative process
- To develop critical thinking and analytical abilities
- To provide active participation in the legislative process
- To develop interpersonal communication skills
- To provide awareness of social issues and their possible solutions
- To provide opportunities to hear and respect varying viewpoints
- To encourage active participation in political and public affairs
- Leadership training
- Public speaking and critical writing workshops
- Community activism, civic engagement, and applying political leverage
- Academic enhancement through the development of research, reading,and writing skills