High school participants can contact their officers directly by emailing [email protected]
High School Program Overview
The YMCA Texas Youth and Government high school program boasts over one thousand students from all over Texas who participate in one of five program sections at our annual High School State Conference in Austin: Legislative, Judicial, State Affairs Forum, Media, and Governor’s Cabinet/Lobbyists.
Click below to learn more about how each section works!
The Legislative section involves participants identifying issues for legislation, bill writing, debating, bill presentation, and participation in a legislative body. Participants prepare legislation (bills, or sometimes joint resolutions) in their clubs for consideration, debate, and action at the District and State Conferences. At the District Conference, Hearing Committees consider each bill and take appropriate action. At the State Conference, all bills are heard first in a committee, and some bills then advance to be heard again by a larger audience in the House and/or Senate chambers. Bills that pass both chambers are sent to the Junior Youth Governor for his or her consideration.
Our goal for our Legislative participants is acquisition of valuable experience writing, researching, and debating mock-legislation in a process that closely mirrors the process of our Texas Legislature. This experience increases awareness both of how our state government works and pertinent current events.
The Bill Template and other supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Legislative section.
Our Judicial program section allows students to participate in a mock-trial setting. They act as judges, attorneys, witnesses, and bailiffs in a series of rounds in which they compete against other teams as either the Defense or Prosecution for Trial Court or the Appellant or Appellee for Appeals Court.
Our goal for our Judicial participants is for them to develop a clear and active understanding of the judicial process in both criminal courts and appeals courts. Participants are challenged to work as a team to develop solid arguments for all sides of a case and perform their roles faithfully to replicate real court proceedings as closely as possible.
The Trial Case and supporting materials for the Judicial section can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Trial and Appellate sections.
State Affairs Forum is designed to broaden participants’ knowledge of pre-selected current events topics. State Affairs Forum uses the structure of committee hearings with parliamentary procedure where students propose solutions to important current issues. It encourages debate on these solutions and thereby fosters in-depth understanding of the topics at hand. Delegates are encouraged to be vocal, listen intently, and participate as much as possible.
Our goal for our State Affairs Forum participants is for them to understand well-formulated solutions (not legislation) for major problems facing Texas and the national/international community, furthering their holistic understanding of news events and empowering them to speak intelligently about feasible ways to address such problems.
The SAF topics and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the State Affairs Forum section.
The purposes of our Media section are to provide an accurate account of the Youth and Government program and to allow students to gain meaningful, real-life experience in journalism through the publication of a newspaper, social media content, and a news broadcast at the District and State Conferences.
The newspaper, various social media posts, and broadcast are entirely the work of the student participants from story assignments to production to distribution. Our goal for our Media participants is for them to fully understand and practice the relationship of media with the government. Students learn to meet deadlines, gain valuable skills like headline writing and interviewing, understand layout and graphic design tools used by media personnel, and more.
Information about media assignments and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page.
Our Governor’s Cabinet section works directly with our Youth Governor . The Youth Governor sets a legislative agenda for the State Conference. He or she then works with the Cabinet to lobby in the Legislative chambers for his or her agenda, which is comprised of specific bills or issues he or she would like to see debated and acted upon.
Our goal for our Governor’s Cabinet section is for participants to engage professionally with one another in discussing legislation about which the Youth Governor is passionate and to persuade Legislative delegates to feel similarly or differently. Participants will be able to attempt to accomplish their own goals respectfully while assisting our Youth Governor. They will also develop debate and technical skills related to lobbying or working in the state government.
The Governor’s Cabinet Criteria and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Governor’s Cabinet/Lobbyist section.