Since its inception in Pennsylvania in 1946, YMCA PA Youth & Government has grown from a simple program featuring only a Model Legislature and a Youth Governor, to an incredibly realistic and complex simulation of Pennsylvania state government, involving over 700 young people every year. Participants have opportunities to serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, and media members. The YMCA PA Model Convention is conducted almost entirely by students and thus many leadership opportunities exist for interested delegates. The possibilities for discovery are virtually limitless.
While the primary goal of this program is the promotion of responsible citizenship, students come away from YMCA PA Youth & Government with much more than a greater knowledge of the inner-workings of government. Participants sharpen their leadership skills and improve their problem solving and critical thinking abilities while they become more adept at debate and public speaking. Students build self-esteem as they learn that their ideas matter and they can make a difference in their world. Delegates meet their peers from around the state, form life-long friendships and learn to respect the views and opinions of others. As YMCA PA Youth & Government participants experience what it is like to run the state of Pennsylvania for a few days, they also learn a great deal about themselves – their abilities, their interests, and their responsibilities as citizens in a participatory democracy.
Students meet regularly as a club through the school year beginning in September. Each club consists of participating students and is led by YMCA staff and volunteers. The Youth and Government year in segments below:
|September||Clubs reorganize for the year and restart their regular meetings|
|October 2, 2021||Club Officers attend Servant Leader Training|
|November 2021||Election Convention|
|February 2022||Pre-Legislative Convention is held – students test run their bills so they can refine.|
|April 21-24, 2022||Model Legislature is held at the State Capital – students from across the state come to present their bill on the House and Senate Floors. Those participating in the Judicial Program argue their cases in front of the student State Supreme Court.|