Youth and Government

The motto of the Youth and Government program is "Democracy must be learned by each generation." To achieve its vision of new generations of ethical and informed public-minded citizens, the program teaches democratic values and skills to youth through hands-on experiences.

Specific program goals include:

  • To foster the development of citizen responsibility
  • To develop social competence, problem-solving ability, and communication skills
  • To inspire young people to be responsible and act with integrity
  • To encourage self reliance and a sense of purpose in youth
  • To provide training and experience through active participation in the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial
  • To stimulate careful deliberation of social issues and their possible resolutions
  • To create opportunities to hear and respect varying viewpoints
  • To apply ethical values in making public policy
  • To teach the YMCA core values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility

Youth Legislature

Experience the democratic process from the inside. Throughout the year, participants learn how to research public policy issues, write real legislation, practice public speaking and debating skills, and work together to achieve a goal. Assuming the roles of Senator, Representative, lobbyist, and press, the Youth Legislature meets in a four-day legislative session in Olympia, presided over by their own statewide elected officials, including Governor, Secretary of State, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House.

Join YAG

Ready to get involved? Simply contact the Teen Director at your local Y and ask about their Youth and Government program.

Conference on National Affairs

CONA offers unusual opportunities for a young person to do research in the area of national and international concerns; to organize this information into a document proposal; to engage in intensive discussion; and to debate these proposals with outstanding young people from other states in a yearly conference held in July. Advisors and delegates who have participated in CONA are unanimous in their belief that this experience makes a vital contribution to helping citizens learn more about the democratic form of government.

Learn More

To learn more about Youth and Government, visit the Washington State Youth and Government website.