Youth & Government:
YMCA Youth and Government is a national YMCA program with the first program taking place in 1936. The Texas program was started in 1946 by the Chancellor of SMU. Today there are 36 states that participate in Youth and Government equating to almost 25,000 students taking part annually in state Youth and Government Conferences with 3300 adult volunteers and YMCA staff serving as adult advisors. Many advisors are alumni and are now “giving back” to a new generation of youth leaders.
To help teenagers become responsible citizens and future leaders of our nations.
To create an environment in which students can increase their political awareness and understanding, while learning the meaning of social action through an actual experience in government.
The purpose of the Youth and Government is to prepare a select group of young people for moral and political leadership in the American democratic process by providing guidance, training and experience in the theory and proactive of determining public policy on the state level. It is called “a laboratory of citizenship and government.”
In Midland, the Youth and Government program is open to students in grades 7 – 12. The year begins with the school advisor working with interested participants on their chosen section. The students meet as a club during the school day to prepare for District and State Conferences. The students can choose from the following sections: Legislative – write a bill and debate a bill about state issues; Judicial and Appeals – eight students – 2 lawyers and 6 witnesses – “mock trial”; Media – print – newspaper reporter or photographer; Broadcaster, Social Media - blogger; Student Affairs Forum – write a proposal on a set list of topics; Model United Nations (MUN) – represent countries of the world. The seventh and eighth graders only participate in the Legislative section.
The Midland delegation composed of fifty-eight students and nine adult advisors attended the State Conference in Austin from January 30 through February 3, 2014. The students competed in Legislative, Media, MUN, and Judicial. The following students were voted by their peers as Distinguished Delegates: Media: Melissa Marquez (Print Photographer), Lily Couldridge (Print); Legislative - Palvasha Deme (House of Representatives), McKenna Smith, Pooja Patel (Senate); MUN - Ben Carr, Drew Gagliardi and Chandler Cavitt . Ben Carr was elected Secretary-General of MUN for 2014-2015. This is the second year Midland has had a delegate elected to the office of MUN Secretary-General. Anthony Rodriquez served as Secretary-General in 2013-2014.
Youth and Government is a terrific example of a program that positively influences today’s teens in our democratic society. It gives students meaningful opportunities to debate current issues in a “mock” government in the manner it is actually conducted in “real life” by those who represent us statewide and nationwide. It also gives teens opportunities to develop and improve speaking skills and public presentation techniques.