One example is Courtney Brousseau, age 14 and a freshman at Newbury Park High School. Last year, while at Sycamore Canyon Middle School, he took part in the Miller Family YMCA of Newbury Park's Model United Nations program. Model United Nations is for middle schoolers and is part of the California YMCA Youth & Government program. Participants learn about cultural diversity, world economics and affairs and global concerns while increasing their public speaking, writing and social skills.
"Model UN is a great program," says Brousseau. "It was eye opening in many ways. We discussed issues that aren't talked about as much in regular society such as nuclear weapons, women's rights and poverty. It teaches kids about the world."
Brousseau got interested in the Y's youth programs because he likes to speak in public and to debate. "After hearing about his interests, we recommended that he come to a meeting," says Veronica Rodarte, the Miller Y's Youth & Government senior advisor.
YMCA Youth & Government participants (for students in 9 through 12 grades) meet weekly to learn about the legislative process and draft bills. More than 2,600 delegates from throughout California then descend on the legislative chambers and state capitol conferences rooms in Sacramento in February to hold the program's annual Model Legislature and Court Conference.
"Youth & Government teaches you how to network and debate ideas in a reasonable manner," says Brousseau. "You also develop relationships--
The Miller Y's Model UN program for students in 6 through 8 grades begins Wednesday, October 19 with weekly meetings from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Youth & Government delegates meet Wednesday nights from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Both meetings are at the Miller YMCA (320 Via Las Brisas) in Newbury Park. For more information, go to www.millerymcayng.org or contact Veronica Rodarte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Model UN and Youth & Government delegations are forming at Triunfo YMCA (serving Oak Park, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village) 818-707-9622, Conejo Valley YMCA (serving Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Santa Rosa Valley), 805-523-7613 and the Simi Valley Family YMCA, 805-583-5338.
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With branches in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village and Simi Valley, the Southeast Ventura County YMCA serves the communities of Newbury Park, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Santa Rosa Valley, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills and Oak Park.