2017-2018 High School Youth and Government State Officers
Youth Governor: Sharif Long, Dallas
Youth Secretary of State: Christopher Sharon, Houston
Youth Attorney General: Asha Christensen, Dallas
Youth Chief Justice: Noelle Mitchell, Fort Worth
State Affairs Forum Chair: Kaitlan Lindquist, Houston
Broadcast Media Producer: Baylee Farris, Fort Worth
Youth Lieutenant Governor: Jordan Clements, Austin
Print Media Editor-in-Chief: Willow Dalehite, Austin
Social Media Editor-in-Chief: Maddy Schell, Austin
High School Program Overview
The YMCA Texas Youth and Government high school program boasts over a 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.
Expand each section to learn more about how it works!
The Legislative section of the Texas Youth and Government Program is intended to give participants experience in 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 then some bills advance to be heard again by a larger audience in the Youth House and/or Senate chambers. Bills that pass both chambers are sent to the Youth Governor for his or her consideration.
Our goal for our Legislative participants is to give them valuable experience in writing, researching, and debating mock-legislation in a process that closely mirrors that of our Texas Legislature. This experience is a valuable method of increasing awareness both of how our state government works and pertinent current events.
The 2016-2017 Bill Template and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Legislative section.
Our Judicial program section allows participants to participate in a mock-trial setting, acting 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, from criminal courts to appeals courts. Participants are challenged to work as a team to develop solid arguments for all sides of a case and assume realistic roles that play off of each other to replicate real court proceedings as closely as possible.
The 2016-2017 Trial Case and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Trial or 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 to propose solutions to important current issues, encourage debate on such solutions, and foster an in-depth understanding of the topics at hand through debate. 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 2016-2017 SAF topics and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the State Affairs Forum section.
The purpose of our Media program section is 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 or news broadcast at the District and State Conferences.
The newspaper, various forms of social media and broadcast will be 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 role of media in the government at the conclusion of the conference. Students learn to meet deadlines, gain valuable skills like headline writing and interviewing, understand layout and graphic design tools used by the media, and more.
The 2016-2017 Media Assignment and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Media section.
Our Governor’s Cabinet/Lobbyist sections work directly with our Youth Governor, who sets a legislative agenda for the State Conference. The Youth Governor works with his Cabinet to lobby in the Legislative chambers for his agenda, which is comprised of specific bills or issues he or she would like to see debated and acted upon. The Lobbyists, on the other hand, oppose the Governor’s legislative agenda and work opposite the Governor’s Cabinet. They also may lobby according to their own agenda(s) on legislation the Governor takes no position on.
Our goal for our Governor’s Cabinet/Lobbyist sections is for participants to engage professionally with one another in discussing legislation about which the Youth Governor is passionate and persuading Legislative delegates to feel similarly or differently. Participants are able to respectfully attempt to accomplish their own goals while experiencing professional and healthy opposition from the other section, and all develop debate and technical skills related to lobbying or working in the state government.
The 2016-2017 Governor’s Cabinet Criteria and supporting materials can be found on the Resource Portal page in the Governor’s Cabinet/Lobbyist sections.