Youth & Government · YMCA of the East Bay
Our civic engagement and leadership development program for middle- and high-school students helps develop critical thinking competence, strengthens interpersonal communication skills, and raises awareness of and engagement in community issues and their possible solutions.
Model United Nations Program
Designed to introduce middle school students to the operation and structure of the United Nations while providing them with an opportunity to actively learn about world cultures and debate issues of international importance. Students participate in conflict resolution, debate, and public speaking, while making new friends, learning parliamentary procedures and having fun. Program includes weekend trips to Camp Roberts Military Base and Irvine, CA.
Model Legislature and Court Program
The California YMCA Model Legislature and Court program, also called Youth & Government, is based on the idea that democracy must be learned by each generation. This statewide program for high school students from 80 YMCAs delivers a nine-month, hands-on experience of state government. A variety of activities build, encourage and strengthen the skills and character traits that will help high school youth become involved, responsible adults who are decent and respected citizens.
Each fall, more than 2,000 teens and 250 volunteers meet as individual delegations at their local YMCAs. The teen delegates meet weekly throughout the school year to debate issues that are important to them and to the state, nation and world. The delegates write bills, select governmental positions to role-play, attend statewide training conferences and run for office.
In February, the program cumulates with our youth and government delegates serving at a five-day Model Legislature and Court Conference at the State Capitol in Sacramento. There, the “regular” occupants of state government offices move over and the teen delegates take over nearly every aspect of state government, debating bills while using the historic halls, chambers, and offices of our State Capitol, Supreme Court and Governor's Office. This program is a wonderful experience full of eye-opening lessons and opportunities. The California Youth & Government Program is the only youth organization in the state privileged to use the actual state legislature and judicial chambers in Sacramento.