Q: WHAT IS Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
A: Maryland Y Youth & Government is a program where high school students learn how to make government work/ They elect their own leaders, legislate their own bills, and lobby for their vision of a better tomorrow.
Q: WHY SHOULD I SIGN UP FOR Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
A: It’s fun! It’s really, really fun! And meaningful. Y Youth & Government is a place for you to find your passion and develop your voice; meet people who you never would have met otherwise; push yourself and others to think about the world in new ways; and take steps toward actively realizing a better future for your community. You will also make lifelong friends!
Q: HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO PARTICIPATE IN Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
A: Maryland Y Youth & Government is open to all students in grades 9 - 12.
Q: HOW DOES A STUDENT GET INVOLVED IN Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT?
A: Students participate in Youth & Government through local groups called “delegations.” Delegations are operated by local Ys, schools or community organizations. Contact email@example.com for a current list of delegations. If there isn’t a delegation in your area, consider starting a new one!
Q: HOW CAN I START A Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT DELEGATION AT MY SCHOOL?
A: Start by talking with Y leaders, school administrators and teachers in your community or school and let them know of your interest.
- Identify a Y or High School that can support meeting space and host the program.
- Identify an adult who is willing to attend delegation meetings and program conferences. Preferably, someone who has knowledge or experience in government, law, history, Maryland state government, social studies, and/or civics.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to officially establish the delegation. We have many tools available to help Ys and school leaders understand the Youth & Government program and the benefits that hosting the program can bring to a local community.
Q: WHAT IS A DELEGATION?
A: Delegations are the local groups through which students participate. Delegations are arranged regionally and in connection with a sponsoring entity, typically a Y Center or high school. Through the course of the year, participants will meet regularly (most meet weekly) as a delegation.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS AT DELEGATION MEETINGS?
- Learning about the legislative process
- Preparation for statewide conferences
- Leading and organizing peers
- Analyzing, thinking and communicating critically and effectively
- Respecting varying viewpoints
- Clarifying positive character traits and values
- Debating and practicing public speaking
- Facilitating and participating in community service
- Developing lasting relationships and having fun
Q: WHEN/WHERE DOES MY DELEGATION MEET?
A: To find information about a specific delegation, contact email@example.com.
Q: WHAT IF I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GOVERNMENT?
A: Y Youth & Government is for everyone. Delegates of all backgrounds and levels of understanding and experience are successful in Youth & Government. We’ll teach you everything you need to know!
Q: IS Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT A PARTISAN PROGRAM?
A: Y Youth & Government is not a partisan program and does not encourage political party activity at its assemblies. The mission of Maryland Y Youth & Government is to develop personal growth and encourage lifelong, responsible citizenship. Adherence to partisanship gets in the way of these goals. That is not to say that participants do not have or share partisan opinions. Students respectfully share their views on issues and politics as they wish, but not as a formal part of the programs.
Q: HOW ARE ADULTS INVOLVED?
A: Although Youth & Government is a youth-led program, it cannot function properly without the aid of adult volunteers. Volunteers serve as advisors and program mentors. Volunteers can be teachers, parents, college students, former Youth & Government participants, Y associates, or any adult who is passionate about promoting teen leadership.
To become a volunteer, contact the Maryland Y Youth & Government State Office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you find (or start) a delegation in need of advisors.
Q: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN ADVISOR?
A: Advisors are adult volunteers age 21 or older who maintain administrative accountability and help develop, support, and supervise a delegation of students.
Q: WHAT IS THE COST? ARE THERE FUNDRAISING OPPORTUNITIES OR SCHOLARSHIPS?
A: While the program is free, there are associated costs for the trainings and conferences. The 2022 fee is $475 and covers training and conference registration, activities, materials, publications, hotel accommodations, and some meals. The fee does not cover all meals, transportation (if applicable) or local delegation expenses.
Y Open Doors Savings is available from the Y in Central Maryland. Click here to download the application. Y Open Doors is a great way to potentially lower your program cost for participation.
Fundraising opportunities may be available within local delegations.
Q: WHAT EXTRA EXPENSES WILL I HAVE DURING CONFERENCES?
A: Extra expenses during conferences include money for meals, souvenirs and shopping. All meals, except the evening banquet dinner, are the responsibility of the participant. Many delegates bring snacks and breakfast foods for their hotel rooms.
Q: WHAT KIND OF EVENING ACTIVITIES ARE THERE AT THE 3-DAY CONFERENCE?
A: Each year delegates look forward to karaoke, trivia, an ice cream social and the Youth Lt. Governor’s Banquet, which is followed by a dance and social.
Q: WHAT IS THE DRESS CODE?
A: Business attire or business casual is expected during some of the Y&G conferences. The goal is to replicate real-life leaders and officials in the Maryland government and this can include professional dress. Dress pants, button down shirts, polos, suit jackets, ties, dress shoes, dresses, skirts, blouses, are all recommended. Dressing the part of a politician can be very exciting and it is never discouraged to be overdressed.
Q: WILL Y YOUTH & GOVERNMENT HELP ME GET INTO COLLEGE?
A: Yes! Y Youth & Government will help develop your critical thinking and communication skills as well as provide the opportunity to take on leadership roles that are influential on college applications. It provides experiences that can help student write strong personal statements and provide relationships needed for letters of recommendation.
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