Are you an alum looking for a way to be more involved with Texas Youth and Government? Or maybe you are a member of a student or community organization? Perhaps you and your colleagues would like to find a fun activity that the team can do together? Well, look no further! Texas YG has flexible volunteer opportunities at our annual High School State Conference January 31, 2020 and February 1, 2020.
Sign up on our volunteer page here and make sure to provide the Texas YG alum name or organizations’ name when asked, “How did you hear about this volunteer opportunity?” We will recognize an alum who refers the most volunteers to the State Conference as well as the organization that brings the biggest group of volunteers to State Conference.
If you have questions about volunteer opportunities or would like us to present to your group at a future meeting, please contact our Program Coordinator, Breanna Tuck, at [email protected]
Thank you to all the advisors and students that sent in questions in regards to our Judicial Case this year. And what an exciting case! We cannot wait to see the Trial and Appellate Court teams in action this year at the State Conference!
We successfully collected answers to all of your questions. You can review these questions and answers Here. The case materials have also been updated to reflect necessary changes. Please take a look at the updated versions of the Trial Case and Appellate Case as you continue to prepare your arguments.
If you continue to have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our program coordinator, Breanna Tuck, at [email protected] Happy studying and we will see everyone in just a couple more months!
How long have you participated in YG? The upcoming year will be my third year.
What is your favorite thing about participating in YG? My favorite thing about participating in JYG is to learn about everyone’s different outlooks and takeaways on the various topics. It is cool to see how I might think one way about an issue and meet with a delegate that has a completely different perspective on the same issue. Learning about the different viewpoints on problems helps me have a better outlook on the world because I am able to view it through different perspectives thanks to my fellow delegates.
What is your favorite YG memory? My favorite YG moment was right after I finished my campaign speech at last year’s state conference. It felt like all my hard work had paid off and it was really cool to see the speech that I had been working on for months come to life.
What are you most excited to do in your elected position this year? I am most excited to go to all the different committees and get to experience all the debates. I am also excited to help Diya pick out the final bills to pass.
What message would you like to give to first year students in YG? For first year students, my advice is to be super confident in yourself. You have spent months working on your proposal or bill and your time to shine has finally arrived. Put yourself out there and really try to get your point across. You want to get others as excited as you are on your proposal or bill. Even if it may feel a little weird, it is important to put yourself out there because others will want to have the same confidence that you have and will follow your example.
Today is #GivingTuesday and there are a couple of different ways that you can support your favorite civics education program! You can always donate to our program here and support one of more than 2,000 students that will attend our State Conference next month. But we know money can be tight this time of year. You just survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday and if you are like my family, you have five different birthdays coming up all in the next three weeks. It is the season of giving but we know donating money can be difficult so this year, we ask that you donate your time.
Our State Conference will take place in various places around Austin, Texas on January 24-25. It is a wonderful opportunity for all of Texas Youth and Government to gather in one space and witness what the delegates have been practicing and working on in their clubs. However, we cannot put on this event for our students without your help. We need volunteers to serve as evaluators and help our delegates have the best possible State Conference experience. We hope this #GivingTuesday you will consider giving us your time and volunteering with us. You can visit our volunteer page to learn more about the different volunteer opportunities. Also, please follow this link to sign up. We look forward to seeing you next month!
A congratulations is in order for Carmela Lozano! She won the second drawing for an Amazon gift card that we hosted for all of the students that completed the pre-program survey this year.
We want to thank all students that completed our pre-program survey. A total of 643 students completed the pre-program survey this year! We have a little under 3,000 students registered, so more than 20% of students completed our survey!
As I mentioned before, the pre-program survey helps us better understand how the program impacts students and what are the areas that we could improve in. The input we receive from students teach us how we can make YG better for everyone. Thought it may seem small, it is an accomplishment that 1 out of 5 students completed our survey! It is a huge increase from last year and the additional responses allow us to learn more about the impact we have on students from all across the state. Therefore, I want to thank all of our students again for completing our survey!
I don’t know about y’all, but the last few months flew by way too quickly! Can you believe it is already time for Districts to host their conferences? As soon as this Saturday, delegates will be gathering in one of our five Districts and show off the skills they have been working on. Houston will have their conference on November 9th, and Midland, Fort Worth, Austin, and Dallas will all have their conference on November 16th.
Are you nervous? Excited and ready to engage in thoughtful debate or publish your story? Maybe a little bit of both? Well lucky for you, the YG officers compiled a list of advice and tips for the delegates. We hope you find the information below helpful and useful. The State Office is cheering you on and we know everyone is going to do fantastic. Take a look at what your officers have to say, have fun at your District Conference, and we will see you in a couple of months!
“Hello delegates! I applaud you all for taking this first step to join the YG community at the District Conference. As a previous competitor in the judicial section during these conferences, I have been in your shoes. I remember gathering the courage to step forward into a world I almost knew nothing about, but would come to love, at my first conference. Here are a few tips that helped me in the past and I hope you find them just as useful. First, always be on time to your rooms, punctuality is critical during this hectic time. Don’t psych yourself out! Take deep breaths before you speak and be confident. Be sure to present yourself in a professional manner. Be sure to have fun, do not stress out about something so much it prevents you from enjoying the conference. Finally, and most importantly, appreciate this wonderful program for everything that it is and do not take anything for granted!” — Attorney General London Jones ’21
“Do your best and never give up because you never know what will happen. Also, only focus on what you are doing and do not worry about what everyone else is doing.” — Broadcast Producer Amy Ekechukwu ’20
“Talk to EVERYONE! District is the time to make friends and meet as many people as you can.” — State Affairs Form Chair Nikash Harapanahalli ’20
“The first tip that I have for first year delegates is to definitely study parliamentary procedure. It is important to be familiar with it in order for debate to run as smoothly as possible. Secondly, don’t be afraid to stand up and speak! You’re first conference is meant to be a learning experience, but it can also be an amazing experience if you take full advantage of it!” — Youth Governor Tadiwa Mujokoto ’20
“Remember, the people in the room are not against you. Everyone at the conference is working to help each other become better debaters. Speak with your Chair before the room starts. Getting to know your Chair can make the room feel more welcoming and relaxed. Also, try to have fun! While the conference is meant to be a learning experience, remember to still enjoy the debate and make friends throughout the day.” — Lieutenant Governor Alexander Searles ’20
“Make mistakes! When I switched from Legislative to Judicial, it felt as if it were my first year in YG all over again. When I look back on that year, I learned how to become a more effective attorney from the times I messed up my presentation or forgot a procedure in court. We have to embrace our mistakes and be willing to have them corrected by an advisor and our peers. District Conference is the best opportunity to get your feet wet and learn how to become more successful in YG.
Engage with others! I always tell my peers that YG is 10% competing and 90% meeting new people. There’s nothing inherently wrong with going into the District Conference with a competitive fire, but the conference is much better when you make new friendships and build connections with your fellow delegates. YG is one of the few programs where you truly have the opportunity to meet and interact with a diverse community of athletes, musicians, debaters, artists, and engage with people who believe in the power of being an active citizen.
Also, keep in mind that the older and more experienced delegates are not scary! It can be really intimidating being in the same room as the senior who has been in the program all four years of high school or the attorney team that has consistently made it to NJC. However, these more experienced delegates will be your greatest sources of wisdom and can become some of your best friends if you are willing to approach them. We all know the nerves and sweaty palms that come when you go up tot speak for the first time, and we are all here to help and support you.” — Chief Justice Sebastiane Caballes ’20
Halloween is nearly upon us! Are you ready to be spooked by a friendly ghost? Or go out and knock on your neighbor’s door and beg for candy? Or maybe you have plans to attend a fall festival and bob for some apples and go on a hayride? Well before any festivities can begin, it is time to be introduced to our next JYG officer, State Affairs Form Chair Raphael Caballes ’24. Read below to learn a little bit about our young delegate and to see a fun fact about him!
State Affairs Chair Raphael Caballes ’24
How long have you participated in YG? Two years so far.
What is your favorite thing about participating in YG? I love getting to meet new delegates from other schools and getting to see friends from previous years.
What is your favorite YG memory? My favorite YG memory is hanging out with some of my friends at the last State Conference in 2019 and just enjoying our time in Austin.
What are you most excited to do in your elected position this year? I am excited to be able to chair and help out new delegates in the State Affairs Form section.
What message would you like to give to first year students in YG? I would like to tell all the new students in YG to not be scared, and to know that all of your thoughts and ideas matter.
Favorite thing about Halloween? I really like the amount of horror movies and shows that come our during this time.
Happy fall! Here at the State Office, the temperature has dropped and the air now has a chilly touch of fall to the air. Pumpkins at local stores are out in full force and we have learned that blue and pink pumpkins are a thing and are a specialty produce in the squash and gourd family. Neighborhoods are decked out in fun and spooky Halloween decorations.
However, we’re sure our delegates are also focused on what happens after Halloween. District Conference is a mere few weeks away and things in YG are starting to ramp up. In preparation for District Conference, it’s time to now introduce your Junior Youth and Government (JYG) officers. See below for an introduction to the Texas JYG Governor, Diya Hedge ’24.
Texas Junior Youth Governor Diya Hedge ’24
How long have you participated in YG? This will be my third year in the Youth and Government Program!
What is your favorite thing about participating in YG? My favorite thing about participating in this program is meeting new people from all over Texas! It really allows you to expand and connect with others with different backgrounds. I really love how warm and welcoming the YG community is. YG definitely builds very strong friendships across delegations, which is an important part of the program!
What is your favorite YG memory? My favorite memory in YG was my first State Conference in Austin. I remember being elated to the point of giddiness! It was my first time being away from my family for more than one night. I enjoyed debating other delegates and watching my friends’ bills get passed in committee. The experience overall at the State Conference was incredible! It was amazing to debate like real legislators.
What are you most excited to do in your elected position this year? I am most excited to work with delegates across the entire state! I hope to spread democracy throughout the state and sign bills into action that I think will improve our society. I am very excited to meet more delegates and connect with new people!
What message would you like to give to first year students in YG? A major piece of advice I can give to first year students is to never give up! Always make sure you give your 100%, at all times! Regardless of whether you win or lose, it is always important to keep trying and not give up. As future leaders, it is important to be driven about your passions.
Now for the most important question, what is your favorite Halloweencandy? Sour Patch Kids!
Have you ever considered a career as an attorney? Have you ever wondered what types of career paths you can follow as an attorney? Are you looking for inspiration to join the legal profession? Look no further! Our partners at Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy put together a documentary last fall, exploring the different ways you can become part of the legal field and have provided us with some insight from one of their chairs, Meghan Kempf. We greatly appreciate the work our partners do on behalf of Texas YG, and wanted to re-share this resource as students and advisors prepare for upcoming District Conferences next month!
This year a group of 25 attorneys were selected to participate in the Austin Bar Association and Austin Young Lawyer’s Association’s Leadership Academy. As part of their group project they created a short film documentary titled Law: A Profession of Service with the goal to inspire future leaders with an interest in pursuing careers as attorneys. The judges and attorneys in the film include: Honorable Robert Pitman, Honorable Wallace Jefferson, Honorable Laura Livingston, Dr. Sarah Weddington, Senator Kirk Watson, Berry Crowley, Frank King, and Dirk Jordan. Each of these leaders have had a significant impact on different local, national, and international communities through their legal work.
One of the 2018 Leadership Academy’s chairs and former 2016 participant in the program is Meghan Kempf. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and St. Mary’s University School of Law in 2012. We asked her a few questions on what inspired her to serve with her law degree and continue to serve in her career. She was the 2018 recipient of the Austin Young Lawyer’s Outstanding Young Lawyer’s award and is currently Staff Counsel at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
What type of work do you do with HHSC?
“I work on the policy team in the Office of the Chief Counsel for HHSC, advise the HHSC staff on the meaning of relevant laws and assist in interpreting legislation for public assistance programs. I primarily work in the areas of women’s health, family violence services, and Medicaid service delivery for children in state conservatorship.”
What was your first job out of law school?
“My first job after graduation was an Equal Justice Works Fellow for Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. in San Antonio. They fund legal aid projects nationwide to serve unmet needs in local communities. My fellowship focused on providing advocacy for survivors of domestic violence and education resources to community partners, including law enforcement and direct service providers.”
As an attorney, why do you think it is important to serve?
“Attorneys have a unique ability to help people understand and utilize the laws that their representatives have created to govern their lives. To enable people to reach their full potential and dignity is a true privilege and helps our communities to progress to include everyone.”
Do you think that youth involved in the YMCA YG programs can start serving while pursuing a career in politics or as an attorney?
“Absolutely, serving in a representative capacity is the very definition of serving others. The focus on service helps us to remember the true purpose of representation and community discourse, and the value of brining multiple viewpoints to the table.”
Watching the video, Law: A Profession of Service, what inspiration do you take from it and what do you think the students can take from it?
“Watching the video reminds me of all the different ways a person can be inspired to join the legal profession. There are so many diverse ways to serve and needs to be met in the community. For the students, find something that is your passion and there will be many opportunities to serve and pursue a meaningful career.”
On behalf of the 2018 Leadership Academy Class, I invite you to watch our film, Law: A Profession of Service, to see if you draw inspiration to serve others and see the impact you can have in your pursuit of a career in the legal profession.
We are proud that the YMCA Youth and Government programs are going to share these words of wisdom with the incredible children in their programs and hope to see them develop into leaders with a passion for service to others as they follow their dreams.
Congratulations to Kaden Gould, the first winner in our drawing for an Amazon gift card!
Kaden won a $20 gift card from Amazon for completing our pre-program survey. It is important for students to complete the survey because it helps the State Office continue to improve the program. Every student that completed the survey between the beginning of registration through October 14th was entered for a chance to win.
Still haven’t completed the pre-program survey? Would you like a $20 Amazon gift card? Lucky for you, students have one more chance to win a gift card. If you completed the survey between October 15th through November 8th, you will be entered into a second drawing. We will draw a name on Monday November 11th and inform you who the lucky winner is.
So ready to win a gift card? Go here to complete our survey. And a HUGE thank you to all the students who have completed the survey so far. We are excited to have received over 500 responses so far, your input is vital to our program development.