Democracy at Its Finest

Maryland Y Youth & Government is a special program specifically designed to give high school students a hands-on lesson in how government works. Teens will learn how to elect their own leaders, debate, legislate bills, and lobby for their vision of a better future!

The program is open to all high school students in the state of Maryland regardless of how much or how little you may know about government and the legislative process. We'll teach you everything you need to know as all of your efforts culminate into a 3-day mock legislative assembly at the Maryland State House in Annapolis!

And while you grow your servant leadership skills, your whole family can enjoy being part of a supportive, active, and caring Y community. All families participating in Y Youth & Government receive a Y family membership included with enrollment! The membership continues at no cost throughout the duration of your program participation.


Students (referred to as delegates) from the same area or school form small groups (referred to as delegations) that meet weekly or bi-weekly under the guidance of an adult advisor. Delegates also participate in the following conferences:

  • Training Conference: February 10, 2024
  • Pre-Legislative Conference: March 16, 2024
  • Officer Training, Annapolis, MD: April 18-19, 2024 (Officers only)
  • State Legislative Conference, Annapolis, MD: April 20-22, 2024

Delegations are arranged regionally and in connection with a sponsoring entity, typically a Y or high school. To find a delegation in your area or for more information about starting a delegation at your school or in your community, please email Please be sure to include your area or school of interest.


Each delegate will choose a program role to portray during the mock legislative assembly. They will learn how to fulfill the responsibilities of their role through the weekly/bi-weekly meetings and a series of training conferences (listed above).


Role: Develop, debate and decide which bills should be passed into law.

Members of the Senate and the House of Delegates are responsible for sponsoring or co-sponsoring their delegation’s bills. At each stage of the legislative process, members of the Senate and House of Delegates will debate the merit of the bills and determine if they should  advance through the process and/or be amended through a series of speeches and votes.


Role: Influence the political process as the Senate/House of Delegates makes their decisions.

As a lobbyist, delegates will work with a small group to influence legislation on behalf of a client and write/campaign for a piece of legislation placed on the ballot for public referendum. Excelling as a lobbyist involves writing and delivering compelling arguments, as well as using interpersonal skills to influence the legislative process.


Role: Interview officials, produce news articles, newscasts, digital content, and more.

The Press is broken into three divisions: print, broadcast and social media. Under the direction of a student editor, each division is responsible for reporting on topics related to the conference and the program at large including, interviewing officers and delegates, writing/producing editorials and public interest pieces, newsletters, newscasts, digital content, etc. Members of the press are also responsible for questioning candidates as they campaign for office, contributing to the annual slide show and various special projects.


Role: Prepare and give arguments on the constitutionality of a law.

The court includes an appellate court and a trail court experience. Attorneys in the appellate court work in small teams to argue the constitutionality of a law before a panel of justices. Attorneys in the trial court work in small teams as both plaintiffs and defendants to present a case in front of a practicing attorney. Excelling in either appellate or trial court involves careful preparation and excellent oral arguments


Role: Campaign for office, lead fellow delegates, direct and develop the mock legislative conference.



During the training conference, delegates will have the opportunity to connect with peers inside and outside of their delegation and attend sessions on a variety of topics, including specific program roles, the bill writing process, running for office, and a Maryland policy briefing.


Delegates dive deeper into their roles, getting specialized training and work collaboratively with their peers in other delegations. This conference also includes the campaigning, election and appointment of the Y & G statewide officers and the first reading of bills that will be considered in the mock legislative session.


Delegates participate directly in the democratic process in this experiential learning conference in Annapolis. Delegates have the privilege of using the actual facilities of the Maryland government, including the State House, the House of Delegates Office Building and the Anne Arundel Circuit CourtIn addition to the rigorous debating, writing and presenting, delegates also enjoy a variety of social activities.


The Conference On National Affairs (CONA) is a national program that attracts the best and the brightest from the Youth & Government programs across 40 states. Held at the beautiful Camp Blue Ridge in North Carolina, CONA delegates write, debate and vote on proposals that address national concerns. The Maryland delegation for CONA is selected through an application process which considers the assets each delegate brings to the team as well as past performance and future aspirations. Typically, approximately up to 25 students from Maryland are selected to attend CONA.


Maryland Y Youth & Government is a statewide program of the Maryland Coalition of Ys. The program is administered by the Y in Central Maryland. For questions about Maryland Y Youth & Government or if you would like to bring the program to your school, Y, or community organization, please contact us.

The Maryland Y Youth & Government State Office

303 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Baltimore MD, 21204
Hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm
State Director: Zalanka Jones Anderson