"Democracy must be learned by each generation."

Youth & Government is a state-wide youth educational program involving nearly 600 high school students, in a seven-month hands-on experience. Since its inception over 60 years ago, the program has used a variety of activities to build, encourage, and sttrengthen those life assets and character traits that will help high school youth become involved, responsibl adults who are decent and respected citizens.

Youth and Government teaches the values of democracy by creating citizen leaders from a cross-section of the Staes's high school population, providing them with the opportunity to experience government first hand and to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process. The program also helps develop within these youth an attitude of self-help and self-confidence for their personal futures. 

Youth and Government is for high school students, grades 9-12.


Building stronger communities requires an informed and participating elecorate sharing a common value system. Young people need to understand that they can have an effect on their communities, their state, and their country through their actions. Through its programs, Youth & Government strives to give youth both the tools and the character values to empower them to solve problems within the established system of government. Participants in the Model Legislature & Court are provided an arena to test their beliefs, to share their frustrations, to examine their ethics, and broaden their knowledge while emphasizingthe four core values of the YMCA - Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.

The nearly 350 delegates and advisors participate in a five day program that encompasses most aspects of state government. Delegates are privileged to use the actual state legislature and judicial chamber; the only youth program allowed to use the capitol chambers.