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The YMCA of Honolulu Youth And Goverment program is an annual program designed to offer students, grades 6-12, hands-on experience with state government. Each year, some 100 students from across the state converge on the State Capitol, taking the places of our real government officials. Program participants can serve as senators or representatives and even members of the press corps.

The purpose of the program is to bring the workings of state government alive to students. The program begins in September when students and volunteers meet to discuss issues facing Hawai`i. During a four month period, the teen delegates write bills, select governmental positions to role-play, attend statewide training conferences, and run for various elected offices. Bills are drafted in and brought to the State Capital for consideration and debate. Thus, delegates to Youth Legislature attain an actual experience in the legislative process, and obtain a better understanding of the complexities of the legislative process and parliamentary procedure.

Purpose:

To help develop within each person the attitudes, skills and responsibilities of active citizenship.

Goals:

  • Increase understanding of the legislative process.
  • Increase understanding of the State Government and of the County and Federal Government and their inter-relationship.
  • Provide opportunities to become involved in socially significant issues.
  • Increase personal competence in expression, self-confidence and understanding of the group decision-making process.
  • Provide opportunities to interact and develop personal relationships with young people throughout our State.
  • Provide opportunity to gain experience in political actions by actually promoting legislation in the State and County legislative bodies.

Benefits to Teens Participating:

  • Teens have an experience they can include on their resumes.
  • Teens are exposed to possible career options and to adults in those fields.
  • Material learned in the classroom is applied to an experiential setting.
  • Interact with others to gain self-confidence and new perspectives.
  • Adult role models are involved in processing the learning of governmental proceedings and about social interaction.

The Youth And Goverment Program is open to all middle and high school students in the State of Hawaii. For more information, contact Cassidy Inamasu at YIG@ymcahonolulu.org.