By Eleanor Thompson, Austin High School

Every year Akins High School welcomes old and new faces to the YMCA Texas Youth and Government (YAG) District Conference. Some come from a background of debate rooms, Model UN conferences, and years of practice participating in YAG. Others have zero experience in anything related to the club. Zoe Moreno and Holland Beard sit on opposite sides of this spectrum. Moreno on the experienced end, and Beard on the novice side. Does their experience in the club dictate how well they perform in their own respective sections? Here’s their opinion on it:

Zoe Moreno is a sophomore at Austin High School and has been in YAG since 6th grade. “The skills I’ve learned transfer into all of the academic involvements such as Model UN and Debate,” she says. “It helped my public speaking skills grow and aided my advancement in YAG.” She feels that her background gives her an advantage. “Practice makes perfect, and I have more knowledge in the field. If the person has years of debate or MUN under their belt, sure I’ll give them that,” she says, “but I still have more experience in YAG.They have skills in places that might boost them, but they still don’t have the understanding of YAG.”

Holland Beard is participating in her first year at the Media Department. Furthermore, she was in the Yearbook and Journalism Club throughout middle school and continues to write in her free time. “I understand this is my first year. However, I still think I can excel,” she says. “If I’m at a debate tournament and it’s my first time participating, and say I have five pre-existing years of debate, in my opinion, I’ll be better than the kid who participated for three years.” She shakes her head as if she said something wrong, “To be fair, it’s your perspective. I don’t think experience determines someone’s quality of work.”

Skill grows based on one’s own experience whether it is in YAG, Debate, Journalism Club, or MUN. As Beard says, it’s based on your perspective. Experience in YAG does not always determine how you perform. Background in other forms is the same. Experience, no matter whether it’s in Youth and Government, helps contribute to one’s success.