Youth & Government | YMCA of Honolulu | Honolulu, Hawai‘i |

Atherton Branch

K to 12 Programs

Youth & Government

We are excited to re-launch our Annual Youth & Government program which had been on pause due to the pandemic. Please check back in the late fall for updates on our Youth & Government program for Spring 2024.

You can also follow us on Instagram at @AthertonYMCA, or email us at to be added to our email list.


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


  • 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.

National Movement

YAG Resources

LEGISLATURE (6th-12th Grade)

Student Representatives and Senators elect their leadership, research current events, write bills on the issues important to them, then debate them in hopes of getting their bill passed through to the Youth Governor. Youth & Government values the opinion and thoughts of each participant - students are taught to debate the issues and not the person. Working together to find a compromise while holding true to one's values and ethical code is critical.

For 6th-7th grade youth who do not wish to debate, participants may fill the role of a lobbyist. They will choose proposed bills and/or resolutions important to them and work to help pass or kill the bill. This will be done with research, speaking with other participants, and working with the Press Corps students when possible. This will help youth to take an active role in getting their voice heard, while not debating youth 4-6 years older than them.

”Youth and Government has opened my eyes to not only problems in my community and in the world, but also the possible solutions and the leaders creating and working toward those solutions. YAG has inspired me to be part of discussions, and to pursue a career that one day hopefully addresses one of America's greatest issues. ”
Youth and Government Volunteer

PRESS CORPS (6th-12th - Limited Positions)

Youth journalists, reporters, camera technicians, and editors will work as a team to research, interview, and present accurate articles regarding the Youth & Government program. Youth discuss ethical writing, reporting, and framing a story. Participants of the Press Crops are responsible for the general communications to YAG participants (current and former) throughout the conference.

There are a limited number of positions for Press Corps due to the nature of the work. For the 69th session of Youth & Government we are looking for 2 writers, 2 photographers, and 1 video editor to capture the program and individual stories.


The YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) was started in 1968 as a follow-up to the outstanding states Youth in Government programs conducted throughout the country. The success of the conference is directly attributed to the leadership of many YMCA professionals and Laymen, but primarily to the dedication of youth involved. Typically around July 4 holiday, over 600 youth from all over the country join on Black Mountain, North Carolina at the YMCA's historical Blue Ridge Assembly.


  1. To gain an awareness of National concerns and issues.

  2. To increase understanding of Federal Government and its relation to State, National and International matters

  3. To have and use a means for communicating concerns about National Affairs to appropriate persons and groups at Federal Government levels.

  4. To develop increased understanding of needs, responsibilities and opportunities.

  5. To work creatively together with young adults and adults

  6. To help youth and adults to better understand and strengthen their values for living through the Christian objectives of the YMCA.

The YMCA of Honolulu has consistently sending a delegation of 4 youth. Youth must be be willing to pay and/or fund-raise the cost of the trip. Generally, the cost of airfare alone is $1,100 bringing the overall cost of the trip to approximately $1,500. The YMCA of Honolulu may have partial scholarship available, but it is not guaranteed.