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 make lifelong friends and together you'll take the Capital by storm during a 3-day trip to Annapolis to participate in a mock legislative session.

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. Students in 8th grade have an opportunity to participate in a sneak peek program at our mock legislative session in Annapolis. Contact mdyandg@ymaryland.org for more information.

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 mdyandg@ymaryland.org 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. Then contact mdyandg@ymaryland.org for assistance. 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 mdyandg@ymaryland.org.

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 the actual Y Youth & Government conferences are conducted almost entirely by students,  the preparation and coordination is done by Y associates, adult program mentors, delegation advisors, and adult volunteers.

Q: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF AN ADVISOR?

A: Advisors are adult volunteers age 21 or older (Y associates, teachers, etc.) 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: The program cost for Y Youth & Government is $350 per person. The cost covers evening activities, materials, publications, meeting space rental, lodging for the 3-day conference, and more. It does not cover the cost of food during the conferences, transportation to the statewide events or local delegation expenses. Financial assistance is available from the Y in Central Maryland. Financial assistance applications are available at mdyandg@ymaryland.org. The Y does not turn away participants based on their ability to pay. Within our available resources, every effort is made to accommodate all who wish to participate. 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 the Caucus Olympics, 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 is required for all Y Youth & Government participants. You are attempting to model yourself after real-life leaders and officials in the political arena, and it's important to dress the part! For young men, this means dress pants (and belt), button down shirts, suit jackets, ties, dress shoes, etc. For young women; dresses, skirts, dress pants, blouses, dress shoes, etc. Jeans, sneakers, hoodies, hats, t-shirts, etc. should not be worn.

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.