Youth & Government | YMCA of Honolulu | Honolulu, Hawai‘i | www.ymcahonolulu.org

Atherton Branch

Middle and High School

Youth & Government

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, our Annual Youth & Government program will not take place in 2021.  However, the YMCA is working with other great organizations that have opportunities available to dive into civics and community action.  See opportunities below and scroll further for information on Youth & Government.


Hawaii Youth Food Council
Hawaii Appleseed & Hawaii Public Health Institute
After a rigorous application process, students are selected to serve on the Hawaii Youth Food Council.  The Council strives to include youth voice on improving school meals, improving access to healthy food options, and promoting sustainable food systems.


Youth for Oahu
Youth for Oahu is a community collaboration between youth, adult allies, and organizations across all sectors dedicated to elevating youth voice through civic engagement and service.
CURRENT ACTION NEEDED: Consider spreading the word and voting "YES ON 2" this November in support of creating a Honolulu Youth Commission which will provide a youth (14-24 years old) perspective on city policy, needs, assessments, and priorities. 


Citizen Redefined
In lieu of Youth & Government in 2021, the YMCA is working with Citizens University - a national non-profit organization dedicated to reviving civic education.  Citizen Redefined was created after numerous planning sessions with local YMCA of Honolulu teen staff, other YMCA youth directors, Citizens University leadership, and educators from across the country.  Between January-February of 2021, local college mentors and Youth & Government advisors will be trained on a fresh curriculum that will spark challenging, refreshing, and mindful conversations which can be done virtually or in-person.  Program applications will be collected early Spring and program will start in March.

YOUTH & GOVERNMENT

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.



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.

CONFERENCE ON NATIONAL AFFAIRS (9th-11th)

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. 

OUR OBJECTIVES

  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.