Youth and Government is a statewide program comprised of 4000 high school delegates 1000 middle school ambassadors and nearly 1500 staff and volunteers. In this 6 month-long program delegates create legislation and resolutions of their own, run for different positions, review Case books, create a state budget, become reporters, or even create different activism initiatives to carry out in their communities. It’s a program that teaches youth about confidence, acceptance, and responsibility while keeping them civicaly engaged and motivated to do more inside and out of the program. It exposes youth to different career paths, opens doors to many opportunities and connections both on the statewide and national level, it also helps them to find a place where they belong and can make new friends from all across California.
My youth and government journey began 7 years ago, I was a little awkward sixth grader who had no clue about foreign affairs, leadership, debating, or even public speaking. I was sold to this program because my mom and brother said that I’d be able to stay the night away from my parents for a couple of weekends, and that really intrigued me. I was thrown on a bus, and I remember I was sitting alone when one of my advisors held up a yellow sheet of paper and said “if you’re looking to apply for something, this Is your last chance” I was really bored and that seemed like something I could use to pass the time with so I decided to fill it out, since I knew nothing about this program, when it asked what position I was applying for I put “any”
Once we arrived I was moved around to a ton of different rooms, until finally I ended up at my interview with several other eighth graders. I don’t quite remember how it went but a few weeks later I received an email that said I would be serving as an ecosoc committee chair that year! Being in that position helped me to realize my passion and love for leadership. I learned so much about servant leader and inspiring others that I knew I had to continue this. I went on to finish MUN holding an appointed state-wide position all three years, and continued on into MLC as a Forum committee chair, but sophomore year I decided I wanted to transition into elected leadership and to my surprise I ran and was elected to serve as one of the secretaries of the senate. This was the first time I realized that anything was possible in this program and that no aspirations were to big.
So With a little encouragement from the friends I had made in this program as well as with the help of my advisors, I ran for the position of youth governor last year.
It was one of the most stressful, emotional, but rewarding experiences of my life. I got to meet so many new friends and reconnected with so many more, I learned about issues in our state and what I could do to improve them, as well as issues with myself and what I could do to improve me. I began to understand different perspectives and that helped me to be more confident in who I am and what I believe in. It was the longest 6 months of my life but by the end of it I realized that no matter what happened I would be happy. I would be happy knowing that I gained something from this experience, I would happy knowing that no matter what the outcome was, I still had so much support from all the people in this program.
The night I was elected was one ill never forget, it was the night where a seemingly unattainable dream I’ve had since 8th grade, became a reality. I was elected as the 71st youth governor of California.
If it wasn’t for youth and government I wouldnt be able to speak in front of crowds, if it wasn’t for youth government I wouldnt have friends all across California, and now across the US, if it wasn’t for youth and government I wouldnt have the confidence to be my true self.
This program has truly changed my life and it continues to change the lives of so many. Unfortunately though, due to a price tag many students across California are deprived of this experience. Please donate absolutely anything you can today to help change a life. This isn't just a donation, it's an investment into the future leaders of our nation. We can be the change, together.