I entered Youth and Government as a high school freshman, knowing next to nothing about the program. My lack of knowledge led me to have relatively low expectations, I anticipated listening to highschoolers repeat surface level arguments while debating issues that I wasn’t especially passionate about. However, after a year in the program, I realized I had been mistaken. Youth and Government is not your average high school debate program or model government. The delegates in Y&G are some of the most passionate, diligent, and bright people I have ever met. They’re dedicated to discussing a myriad of issues facing us today, educating themselves to the best of their ability, and devoted to making real change. I left my first Sacramento conference inspired, never in my life had I been surrounded by such an open-minded community of students. Youth and Government has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of government and politics, enabling me to develop opinions on issues that really do matter. I’m proud to say it has ignited a passion for politics that I otherwise may have never discovered.
In Y&G, we debate a wide range of political and social issues. While I don’t always speak during these debates, I’m often fascinated by the diverse opinions of my peers. I find my stances on these issues are ever-changing and influenced as I gain more knowledge. During my time in the program, I’ve developed strong opinions regarding accessible education. Education reform is a hot topic in Y&G, our frequent debates surrounding the issue have led me to the conclusion that an individual's socioeconomic status should never prohibit them from pursuing higher education. Participating in Y&G has led me to be more aware that the education I receive is not something I should take for granted. I’m grateful to take part in an educational program as incredible as Y&G, but the harsh reality is my participation in this program is a privilege that is unavailable to a large number of high schoolers because of the cost. That’s why this year I decided to participate in the Future Leaders Campaign to raise money to support students who otherwise would be unable to afford this amazing program. Even the smallest of donations can help to fund our program, encouraging teens like me to educate themselves. Because, after all, we are the future leaders of America.