Youth & Government


California YMCA Youth & Government has provided outstanding statewide educational and social experiences for almost 70 years. The YMCA is a cause-driven organization that focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. California YMCA Youth & Government is an integral part of the YMCA movement. Our programs, run through partnering YMCAs, schools and youth organizations, have served an impressive 38,000 students over the past 15 years alone. We now engage over 3,000 high school youth each year from across the state, in programs emphasizing leadership and civic involvement. Our efforts build, strengthen and encourage life assets and positive character traits to the teens.

Youth & Government provides students with practical experience in the study of state government. Participants study current issues, draft legislative bills, learn how to present their legislation in committees and debate them on the floor of the House or Senate. Youth and Government also includes a judicial program and special programs for pages, print media and video journalists, legislative lobbyists, and legislative analysts.
The hands-on programs of California YMCA Youth & Government provide positive opportunities and experiences for youth. Participants strengthen their communities by becoming active and responsible contributors who are inspired to lead, and are empowered to create meaningful change.

This program gives teens analytical and critical thinking skills. Teens will be able to travel across the state and get to meet new people and participate in team building activities where they split up into groups of 8-12 people and write, research, and debate respectfully with one another. The structure of the program is such that it is designed to model the legislation branch of the government. This program gives teens the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for the future.

California YMCA Youth & Government prides itself in offering the following skills to help youth transition and succeed with ease from high school through college graduation.

• Leadership
• Public Speaking
• Research & Writing
• Core Values & Team Work
• Study Skills
• Critical Thinking
• Greater Understanding of Civic Engagement
• Addressing Issues on Statewide & National Levels

When does the program begin? When do they meet?

There is a Parent Orientation night in late August, for participants and their parents to learn about the program. Registration opens in September and participants begin meeting weekly in late September. Meetings are typically Tuesday nights at 6:30pm.

Who can participate?

Youth & Government is open to all high school students.

Is there a cost to participate?

Yes, there is a cost to participate. There is a member price (for YMCA members) and participant price. Scholarships are available to those individuals who apply and qualify.

Meetings & Conferences

Conference Dates: TBD

Upcoming Events

Weekly delegation meetings happen every Tuesday at
6:30 p.m. Feel free to stop by the Teen Center and join a meeting, all high school students are welcome.