Youth in Government, a national YMCA program, empowers students from every corner of the U.S. by giving them the opportunity to learn about—and experience—government policies and methodologies firsthand.
This unique program is made up of thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government programs. Participants immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement, debate issues that affect citizens in their state and even propose legislation. The program culminates with teens serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature.
Minnesota Youth in Government
Since 1946, students across our region have participated in Youth in Government (YIG), an immersive four days that includes focused discussions on current issues, a wide variety of social events, engaging evening activities, time for small-group reflection, and hands-on leadership development.
The program starts in late fall when students in grades 8-12 join or form a YIG delegation, most likely at their school. Students can choose to serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, media representatives, or cabinet members. Eighth-grade students start by participating as a member of the Leadership Corps. As a group, students work together to prepare materials for their program areas, listen to speakers, and practice their presentation skills. In October, delegates from all over the state come together for online training called LAUNCH to get ready for the four-day conference in early January.
Click here for the Minnesota website.
Email the State Director Brittany Wilson for questions.
Wisconsin Youth in Government
The Wisconsin YMCA Youth in Government (YIG) program provides teens with a unique opportunity to learn how to be civically engaged by acting as state legislators, lawyers, justices and media. Students simulate all phases and positions of the actual state government and are challenged with many of the same issues our real legislators must face in their elected offices.
The program is open to all students in grades 7-12 and engages hundreds of students from across the state each year. During the culminating conference in Madison, participants take over the historic halls and chambers of the Wisconsin State Capitol and Supreme Court. Legislation is debated and court cases are decided, as students apply skills they have gained in the program.
Click here for the Wisconsin website.