YMCA of Snohomish County Sends Largest Student Delegation to the 76th Youth Legislature
EVERETT, WA. May 15, 2023 – Youth delegates from the YMCA of Snohomish County recently attended the 76th Youth Legislature in Olympia, WA, a 4-day conference bringing together students from across Washington state to participate in a mock legislature session. The Snohomish County delegation was the largest in the state, consisting of 48 Youth and Government students from Stanwood-Camano YMCA, Everett Family YMCA, and Mill Creek Family YMCA. Three students were elected to major officer positions and several awards were given to the students within the delegation.
“I’m beyond proud of all our students and seeing them grow in their confidence and skills, as well as their friendships,” said Sam Toft, Teen Program Director, Everett Family YMCA. “They work hard all year to prepare for this event and they did a phenomenal job presenting their bills, connecting with delegates from across the state, and learning in real-time how government operates.”
YMCA Youth and Government is a year-long program for students in grades 8-12 to discuss current events and issues important to them and their community, while developing their public speaking, leadership, and debate skills. The program culminates every spring with Youth Legislature, the state-wide conference held at the Capitol Building. Delegates participate in committee debates and floor sessions in hopes to pass a number of bills presented to the legislature.
Artur Skatkov, a Jackson High School junior attending full-time Running Start, has participated in Youth and Government at the Mill Creek Y since 8th grade and was elected to Secretary of State for next year’s 77th Youth Legislature. He appreciate the skills he has learned and the relationships he has built through the program.
“Being part of Youth and Government has opened many doors and opportunities for me,” said Skatkov. “I was a panelist at the YMCA Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in January, I’m on staff at the Mill Creek Y in the Kid Zone, and I’ve formed friendships with people from all over the state. It’s a lot of fun, but I’ve also learned a lot about being more articulate and heard better.”
This was the first-time since 2019 that the legislative session was held in-person at the Capitol. After the legislative session concluded, the students attended a Governor’s Ball, received tours, and elected officers for next year. In addition to Skatkov, two other delegates from Snohomish County were elected to major positions. Clyde Carter III was elected Governor and Kaelyn Van Duzer was elected Editor-in-Chief. Both students attend Youth and Government at the Mill Creek Family YMCA.
“When students join Youth and Government, it’s much more than a leadership development program,” said Toft. “It’s a community and a family and the lessons they learn extend far beyond civics. The connections and relationships they build are the highlight of the program and they carry those with them throughout their lives.”
To learn more about Youth and Government, please visit: ymca-snoco.org/programs/youth-and-government. Registration opens this summer for the 2023-24 school year.