Youth & Government has been not just a program for me, but a passion and an amazing learning experience. Since 7th grade, I have participated in Youth & Government programs with the YMCA, and it has transformed me from an apathetic and socially awkward middle schooler and provided me motivation and passion for the political issues facing our country as well as a level of confidence speaking before people, whether it be 1 or 100, that I could never have dreamed of beforehand.
And I’m not the only one. I’ve come to know many people who gained just as much as I did. I have seen my friends grow alongside me. And I have seen my friends grow closer to each other, and I’ve never felt so comfortable in my emotions as with my delegation.
But, this comes with but one downside. As such an amazing opportunity, this program does not come for free. California YMCA is extremely generous at both the delegation and state levels with scholarships in order to give this opportunity to anyone. But to do this, they rely on the generous gifts of donors.
As someone whose life has been changed by this program, and who has been friends with many who relied on the YMCA’s scholarships, I strongly believe that everyone should have the same chance, regardless of economic status.