Youth in Government™ is a national program of the Y that involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government programs. Students from every corner of the U.S. have the opportunity to immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement and to, quite literally, practice democracy. Teens from across every state meet in their local Youth in Government™ groups throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and to propose legislation. The program culminates with teens serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature.
The Ohio YMCA’s Youth in Government Program enhances development of the American democratic process for young people through participatory training in the theory and practice of the Ohio state government.
Youth in the program learn about the legislative process, how to write and research bills, and how to participate in elections. Their work culminates in youth serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature. Some have actually made bills into laws!
The YIG program seeks to build, encourage and strengthen life assets and character traits that will help teens become involved and responsible adults. All YIG activities are designed with the following goals in mind:
• Providing leadership training and preparation to meet the needs of a democratic society
• Stimulating interest and awareness of US and state government’s function
• Creating opportunities for civic engagement and awareness of prominent social issues
• Developing self-confidence and self-expression while fostering tolerance and understanding of others’ point of view
• Cultivating the application of moral and ethical valuing processes to public policy making
Our program takes place during the school year. Middle School students meet September to November and High School students meet January to April. The programs conclude with the District Assembly in Columbus. YMCA members and nonmembers are invited to participate. The annual fee is $275 with fundraising opportunities available.