Joining Youth and Government as a timid freshman changed my high school career into an experience I will cherish forever. I entered the program, not really interested in politics or debating, but looking for a place to improve my public speaking abilities. I quickly found myself becoming comfortable in my delegation and gaining so many friends. I began to formulate my opinions on political issues and learning how the government works and was able to have intellectual conversations with my peers and other delegates. I finally found something I was passionate about since I didn't play any sports or having any special talents. But, I had Y&G and my amazing, close knit delegation.
Y&G is a place where teenagers can express their political beliefs in a comfortable enviroment where they are able to debate with other delegates and resepct each other's views. It also provides a basis on how people can get civically engaged in our community by writing letters to our legislators, protesting, and attending city council meetings or school board meetings to create the change the youth wants to see and needs. If our youth continues to be educated in civic engagement with programs like Y&G, our future leaders will reflect our beliefs and most likely represent us better than our current leaders.
But, this experience comes at a cost of about $1,500, which is not financially possible for some, including myself. This cost includes transportation, food, hotels, and the amazing people who run the program. Due to the scholarships offered by the YMCA, I am able to participate in a program that has changed my outlook on life and has allowed me to create lifelong friends and memories. Many of my friends, who I couldn’t imagine Y&G without, would not be alongside me without financial aid. I want to ensure that people like me have the opportunity to experience this life changing program without any financial burdens. This group of 3,000 delegates holds our future leaders who will create feasible change we want to see in our country on the small scale and large scale. This program offers so much more than seen on the surface and inspires teenagers to become leaders in their communities. 100% of the proceeds go to delegates in need of financial aid and I am grateful for your contribution to a program I love so dearly.