Wilmington, DE-The Delaware state capitol will be filled with teens who are passionate about law, policy, and public service as the annual YMCA of Delaware’s Youth in Government (YIG) conference convenes. More than 180 high school students from across the state will spend three days modeling the legislative and judicial system at the Kent County Court House in Dover, Delaware April 12-14.
Since 1969, YIG has given teens an opportunity to meet weekly three months out of the year at local Y’s and schools. The teen program encourages students to learn about and practice the foundation of democracy and to become future civic and government leaders. YIG participants discuss and debate issues that affect Delaware citizens, write proposed legislation to address those issues, compose legal briefs, perform oral arguments, and become trained in parliamentary procedures.
At the conference, teens will take on roles as legislators, attornies, lobbyists, news reporters, and more during sessions at the Court House. They will create bills that must pass through the house and senate, argue a supreme court case, and even use an official polling machine to vote on a governor.
“This conference creates a platform for our kids to practice their public speaking, to advocate for what they believe in, and to have a group of people who are around them to support the things they believe in,” says Program Director Anesha Truesdale.
On Saturday, April 13, the culminating event for the conference will be The Governor’s Banquet at Dover Downs from 6:30-9:30 p.m. At that time the teens will listen to the gubernatorial candidate’s debate. The students will go to a voting booth supplied by the Delaware Department of Elections to vote for the candidate of their choice. The election results will be announced the following day at the end of the three-day conference.
“The whole idea is to mimic government and the judicial process. It empowers our youth and creates a generation of future leaders. It’s refreshing to see so many kids passionate about government!” Truesdale says.
Youth Governor, Ria Swaminathan says “When I first joined YIG, I never knew how important it would become to me. It has improved my public speaking skills, broadened my knowledge about public policy, and allowed me to meet people all across the country. YIG is my home. I’ve met some of the kindest, most talented, and supportive individuals, and I will cherish the memories and opportunities I have received here. Some of the best times I have had have been with my YIG family.”
For more information about YIG or the conference, contact Anesha Truesdale at ATruesdale@ymcade.org.