YMCA Teaches Students First-Hand How Government Works

By Suzy Wiesenhart

The YMCA Youth in Government is a statewide youth program that brings approximately 700 students together to experience the law-making process first-hand through a unique “youth-run, youth-led” process.  Local YMCAs and Youth in Government Chapters have students that work together on debate practices, service-learning projects, fundraising, and State Assembly preparation.

For the State Assembly, students from across the state gather together at the capitol and are involved in one of five program areas-Legislative, Executive, Judicial, Lobbyists, and the Press Corps.  Leading the state are appointed or elected officers that lead their respective program area.  These officers meet numerous times during the year before State Assembly to discuss, plan and execute the theme and events of the year as well as plan for State Assembly.

One of the largest chapters in the state is in the Valrico/Brandon area.  It is the Campo-Camp Cristina chapter which is part of the Tampa delegation, and this year, two students were elected to state officer positions and one was appointed.

Ali Renckins was appointed to Editor-in-Chief, Andrew Murray was elected Williams Senate President, and Seth Reid was selected as Governor of the State.  In addition, all three of these students were selected to go to Conference on National Affairs in North Carolina. Seth was also selected to the National Judicial Competition in Chicago.  It was truly an honor to have been selected for these positions.  Reid stated, “I was elected by a body of 650 student delegates, and that made the position even more exciting.”  He would like to study political science in college with a view towards law, so he’s in the right place.

As juniors, the students will stay in their positions for a period of one year and will actually be graduated before the end of their terms.  They will also be traveling to Tallahassee in June for the State Assembly.