Youth & Government®

Youth and 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.

Youth & Government®

A unique program

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.


The Youth Governor

Watch more Y stories

  • The Youth Governor | Official Trailer

    In The Youth Governor documentary film, 4,000 California Youth and Government® participants "simulate every facet of their state government including elections, deciding court cases and passing legislation. Three candidates emerge in the inspiring race for Youth Governor."

    Rent through iTunes and Amazon Prime beginning on August 26, 2022. 

Campus YMCA Congress


The Campus YMCA Congress is a student-run model-government program that developes public service skills. Its mission is to train public servants as servant leaders, emphasizing policy over politics and making public service relevant to all college students, regardless of their field of study.

Real People, Real Opportunities

Get a glimpse into what it's like to be involved with Youth & Government® at the Y by exploring stories from real teens who are making a real impact.

Watch more Y stories

  • Youth and Government®: Opportunities I Never Thought were Possible.

    Tristin has risen in the ranks among his peers at the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association to become a respected leader who will continue enacting change well beyond his time with Youth and Government®. This is his Y. His camera. His story.

  • Youth and Government®: I'm Going to Break the Stereotypes.

    To make her community a better place, Sabrina wants to show everyone that a young Latina leader can succeed. Find out how this governor's lobbyist from East Los Angeles YMCA is beating the odds and finding a place in Youth and Government®. This is her Y. Her camera. Her story.

  • Youth and Government®: One Thing I Learned from the Y: Never Give Up.

    Riley may not grow up to be a star basketball player, but he shines as a debater in Texas YMCA Youth and Government. Find out why this young governor is stepping up to be one of our future leaders of America. This is his Y. His camera. His story.

  • Youth and Government®: I See the World from So Many Angles.

    Amy's advice: "To be a good photographer, you have to be aware of your surroundings." Find out why this young leader from YMCA of Greater Montgomery sees the beauty all around her. This is her Y. Her camera. Her Story.

  • Youth and Government®: I No Longer Fear What I Have to Say.

    Washington YMCA Youth and Government® not only offered Dany a safe place to thrive, it's also the reason she calls the Y her second home. This is her Y. Her camera. Her story.

Find Your Y

Ready to learn more? Search for Ys that offer Youth and Government®.


Don't Miss These Related Initiatives

Learn more about our other opportunities for young people to learn and lead.

  • Achievement Gap

    The Y is closing the academic opportunity gap with pilot programs that improve students’ educational readiness, scholastic engagement and overall outcomes, all while helping them grow emotionally and physically, too.

  • Volunteer

    Across the U.S, more than 500,000 inspiring individuals from all walks of life—business leaders, community advocates, parents and teens—give back and support their neighbors by volunteering at the Y. That’s because in 10,000 neighborhoods nationwide, we have the presence and partnerships it takes to deliver positive personal and social change.

  • Education & Leadership

    At the Y, millions of children and teens build skills and confidence as they explore new interests and passions with us. Leadership and educational enrichment programs ensure that every child has an opportunity to envision, pursue and achieve the best possible future.