Texas Youth and Government Students, the CONA application deadline has been extended until midnight on Thursday (3/23/17) this week. If you started an application and did not finish, please log in to complete it. Do not wait!
Adult recommendation forms will still be due 3/31/17. We look forward to reviewing all your excellent applications!
CONA APPLICATION link
Calling all High School Texas Youth and Government Participants:
The deadline to apply to be a Texas delegate at the upcoming Conference On National Affairs is in only 3 days! We want to encourage any interested student to apply for this wonderful opportunity. CONA is a unique chance for our most outstanding high school participants to travel to North Carolina and debate current issues and events with other Youth and Government students from all over the country. The conference takes place July 1st-6th, 2017.
Apply here by midnight on this Friday, March 17th, 2017, for a chance to be selected! you may also view our 2017 CONA timeline here. Please contact the State Office or your District Director with any questions about the application.
Good morning, friends and supporters of YMCA Texas Youth and Government!
Over the course of the past weekend, middle school students from all across Texas convened in Austin for the Junior Youth and Government State Conference. These students all debated respectfully and advocated passionately for their beliefs in our Legislative and State Affairs Forum sections. In case you missed it, our results and awards presentation from closing ceremony can be found here!
Congratulations to all delegates who participated in a successful 7th Annual Junior Youth and Government Conference! We look forward to seeing you all next year again in Junior Youth and Government or in our High School program!
Hello friends of Texas Youth and Government!
Our 7th Annual Junior Youth and Government State Conference will take place March 3rd-4th in Austin, Texas. Over 600 students from all across Texas will convene to practice their skills as debaters, advocates and legislators in our Legislative and State Affairs Forum Sections.
The Conference Brochure for the 2017 JuniorYG State Conference can be found here!
Committee and Chamber Assignments for the 2017 JuniorYG Legislative Section can be found here!
The proposal book for the JuniorYG State Affairs Forum Section can be found here, along with a Welcome Letter from our 2017 Junior State Affairs Forum Chair, Ethan Ong.
See you soon, delegates and volunteers!
Happy Thursday, friends of YMCA Texas Youth and Government!
The application for the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is now open. High school students from any YG program section are invited to apply to represent Texas at this national conference, to take place July 1st-6th, 2017.
Each year, Youth and Government delegates from over 40 U.S. states convene in North Carolina at the YMCA’s Blue Ridge Assembly to debate proposals pertaining to issues of national or international importance. Texas is honored to bring a delegation of 25 outstanding high school students each year, selected from all over the state. CONA provides our Texas YG students an excellent opportunity to propose and debate solutions to relevant world problems alongside understanding, interested young people from all over the country, furthering our mission to help teenagers become responsible citizens and future leaders of our nation.
More information about CONA can be found on the CONA website and on our Conferences page. Additionally, check out the Resource Portal for the 2017 CONA Key Dates timeline under the “Conferences” tab.
The application to represent Texas at CONA 2017 is due by Friday, March 17th, 2017. Adult recommendation letters for applicants are due no later than Friday, March 31st, 2017.
Apply now! Email your District Director or the State Director with any questions.
Hello friends of Texas Youth and Government!
Last weekend we held our 70th Annual YMCA Texas Youth and Government High School State Conference. Over 1300 students from our 5 Districts across Texas convened in Austin for 3 days of mock-government in our Judicial, Legislative, Media and State Affairs sections. As always, it was humbling to see our mission to help teenagers become responsible citizens and future leaders of our nation put into action.
We would like to celebrate the success of all our students by sharing the 2017 High School State Conference Results and Awards presentation, which can be found here. Please join us in congratulating all of our delegates on a job well done!
Bri Branscomb explains her journey to YG State Conference
By: Kyle Gehman
The class stands up, starts to recite with “I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America”, however, a sophomore from Leander High School stays seated.
She Bri Branscomb from the Leander High School delegation and is here for her first year debating on the House of Representatives floor. She comes from a multi-racial parent background and has strong, firm view on certain issues that she hopes she can respectfully share with other delegates.
“I think it is important for kids to be participating in democracy because we are given a right that not a lot of other countries have, and that’s a role in our government and a role in how our country will be run,” Branscomb said. “So I think if you have an opportunity to have your voice heard and open about your opinions and what you believe then you should take every chance you can take.”
For the past few months she has made the decision to not stand during the Pledge of Allegiance because of how she feels the words are not being represented.
“I’m not comfortable swearing my allegiance by saying that there is liberty and justice for every American citizen when that is a lie,” Branscomb said. “I don’t believe that everyone should sit for the pledge, and I don’t expect them to. Everyone has their own form of speaking up, and by no means does it have to be the same as mine. However, by sitting down I am taking a stand for what I believe in, and that is not something I will apologize for.”
This is her first year in the Youth and Government Program and already she has won Best Bill during the Austin District Conference. It discusses the mental health of police officers so that they may be reevaluated for duty.
“With all of these instances of police brutality in the past couple years there has been a very big rift between police and minority communities and I think that evaluating if officers are fit for duty could minimize these instances of brutality and help mend this division,” Branscomb said.
Outside of Youth and Government she is involved in her school’s newspaper as well as the theatre department. She hopes that one day she can be an actor and bring the skills that she has learned from YG into that profession.
“I think a lot of the celebrities are role models,” Branscomb said. “However, they’re not always educated so I hope that Youth and Government will help me teach people more on how our political system works and how to be more involved with not just basing your opinions off the media.”
By: Nettie Comerford
To start the General Affairs session at the 2017 Youth and Government competition, Chambliss Peirson, Allison Reimer, and Lily Turner proposed, to increase accountability of schools who are in violation of Title IV and perpetrators of sexual assault in universities. The group began by sharing a testimony from an anonymous Vanderbilt student: “On June 22 of 2013, as a happy, hardworking Vanderbilt student looking forward to my future, I’ve seen with my own eyes what I was when Mr. Batey was done with me, a piece of trash, face down in a hallway covered in his urine and paw prints. Since that night all I I’ve wanted is for this to be behind me. But the process to get justice has been a never ending constant misery in my life that I can’t remember a time when this wasn’t happening.”
Although their proposal did not pass, the Delegates had hoped to strengthen Title IX by ensuring that a school’s affairs would not override legal action in cases that involve sexual assault. “Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any federally funded education which includes private colleges…Title IX does not require schools to report incidents of sexual violence to law enforcement which we propose to make mandatory,” Pierson said. “It’s purpose is to actually carry on the case in order for the victim to get justice, because that’s the failure of Title IX, at least where it is right now,” Turner said. “The hard part of writing the proposal is working around what’s already existing, and there’s a lot of flaws in the system. It’s hard to figure out how to navigate around all the flaws.”
The proposal defined sexual assault as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, in which the biggest example is rape.” In universities, sexual assault is an issue that affects both sexes, according to RAINN, “11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through force, or violence. Among graduate students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault. Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault. Only female student victim’s, age 18-24, report to law enforcement.”
Pierson and Turner, each seniors, are worried about attending college this coming year. Turner said, “It’s scary to think that this could be a situation that we could find ourselves in… It’s just something that needs to be changed.” Peirson believes many of the issues are the result of faulty university practices. “Law enforcement tries to bring justice to victims, I don’t think schools do [that] at all,” Pierson said. Pierson believes schools have a vested interest in protecting students mainly because of the consequences they may face if they do not report the incidents. “They will have some federal funds taken away, or in extreme cases the Office of Civil Rights can take them to court.”
The proposal faced questions about their statistics becuase many victims who have been sexually assaulted do not report their attacks. Turner said, “A really difficult part about it is that because of the fact that most rapes aren’t reported, you can’t find a single statistic that’s 100% accurate because there’s a lot of cases that aren’t represented and that’s what everyone argued against us for. Schools try to stop it in any way they can handle it internally and law enforcement tries to do their part but if they can’t get the full story, there’s not much they can really do.”
The proposa’ls authors, also discussed how our communities can work towards improving the lives of victims. “Rape is definitely a taboo topic, so I think that makes it uncomfortable to talk about and I think that’s why progress is so slow,” Turner said. Until we are willing to talk about the reality of campus rapes, these institutions will not be motivated to acknowledge the extent of the problem.
Even though the proposal did not pass, the group continues to feel like they have work to do to better the school systems.
“It’s still something I’m passionate about. It not passing is not the end of this, there’s still more we can do,” Peirson said.
In light of a recent article released by Print Media, Governor Kennedy Montgomery has requested we release a statement to defend his reasoning behind dismissing the media from his meetings. In Print Media we honor the input from delegates and officers alike, but we also support the work and reporting of our journalists. The Print Media department of YAG will not be retracting any facts in the published article. As stated in the original article, Governor Kennedy was within his power to dismiss the media, and we are in our power to report on those dismissals.
The statement from Governor Montgomery is as follows:
One of the corner stones of democracy is the freedom of press and I, as the youth executive (The Youth Governor), believe this is a necessary part of our political process. I feel as though when the media released their statement yesterday evening they were truly mistaken because we need the press in our political system so that we can keep it honest, but our media was incredibly misguided when they said that I (Governor Montgomery) “made the decision to eject the reporter covering his cabinet meeting”. I politely asked for five minutes of privacy in which the media delegate may have made an honest and ethical misunderstanding of my statement and intentions. In order to maintain the integrity of the governor’s agenda and his governor cabinet it is imperative that he has honest moments of sincere and ethical privacy that must not be misconstrued as an attack on the media that I so passionately support.