We don’t want to begin our weekly blog post without acknowledging the devastation that Hurricane Harvey brought to our great state.  Our hearts are heavy and go out to any YG participants and families affected by the storm.   Our program hopes to instill civic engagement in our students, and we invite any readers to check here, here, or here to learn more about ways to get involved with Harvey relief efforts.

Why get involved in YG and learn the fundamental civic skills it teaches?  Read below for some of our alumni’s thoughts on the rewards and impacts of the program!

How did your participation in Texas YG influence your educational/career choices?

YG tremendously altered my life’s path. Before Texas YG I desired to be a cardiothorastic surgeon. However, after experiencing the true power of democracy and how essential government is to society through YG, I’ve turned a new leaf and changed my career path. I am now majoring in Political Science at the University of North Texas, and I plan to attend law school immediately after, all in order to later serve as a congressman/public servant. YG inspired these dreams.
I actually credit Texas YG with my choice to study Government and pursue a career in national security and intelligence. Aside from piquing my interest in matters of government and international relations, YG taught me to draw on all my academic resources to articulate what I believe and intelligently debate answers to the most pressing world issues. Oftentimes, the best ideas came from innovative thinkers with backgrounds much different than mine. In a time when the intelligence community of the US is facing many challenges, this educational and team-based approach to problem-solving will certainly help me to get in on tackling policy issues effectively and improving the overall intelligence apparatus of the US with thoughtful, refined decisions.
Participating in Texas YG improved my confidence, encouraged me to think critically, and provided me with the necessary skills to articulate my viewpoint on specific issues. It benefited me throughout my time in college and ultimately drove me toward a government-based career.

Share a fond memory from your Texas YG days that has stuck with you.

My fondest memory of YG is the time spent at CONA and other conferences. People in YG are involved from across Texas, and I only saw many a few times a year. It was so exciting to see these friends and spend quality time with them.
The awards ceremony at my very last CONA was so impactful. The Texas delegation knocked it out of the park — multiple outstanding proposal awards, a top chair award, a YG college scholarship winner, a PO and an alternate PO selected. Everyone was so thrilled for each other and the energy among the Texas group was just outstanding. It was such a special way to end my YG experience as a student.
My fondest memory from Texas YG happened when I was giving a speech. During the speech, I looked out to the crowd and told them I loved them, and someone told me they loved me back. That kid made my day. Genuine compassion and love is priceless and sacred. Unity among your peers is an irreplaceable element of YG that it nurtures and promotes.

What’s one piece of advice you have for current Texas YG students?

My piece of advice would be “Utilize all opportunities!” A great man once said that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Be sure to take those shots.
Be interested in everything. Though you may have one or two main issues you are an expert on and particularly want to debate, listen to and participate in debate on all issues. You never know if you’ll find a new passion buried within others’ bills/proposals, and even better, you may find a new friend who can expertly educate you on something you’d never thought about or considered! Knowledge is power, as is friendship.
The advice I would give students currently participating in the program is to be involved and passionate about what you are doing. You’ll only go so far on talent, and passion is what pushes you further. Find your passion in YG and stick with it – the results will amaze you.