For three days, Nov. 25-27, 2013, Colorado’s legislators will give up their seats, and teen delegates from throughout the state will take over their responsibilities in bill writing, lobbying, debating, and voting, all using the House floor, Senate chambers, and offices of the state capitol.
It’s part of the YMCA’s Youth in Government, a program that since 1949 has promoted the premise that democracy must be learned by every generation. The program is the only one of its kind that offers this type of experience and access to Colorado’s legislative offices.
In the program, students participate directly in the major aspects of state government, filling roles not just as politicians, but also as lobbyists, attorneys, and journalists. For three months every year, they learn about and experience the state’s democratic system, and how laws and government shape people’s lives.
“They learn there’s more to government than what the media portrays or what their parents say. They learn how government relations works and everything that’s involved in running a democracy,” said program director Taylor Roberts.
Roberts said the program builds, encourages, and strengthens character traits that will help students become involved, responsible adults and decent, respected citizens. It is also a great resource for parents who want to give their kids a head start in developing social responsibility and lifetime learning.
“This is hands-on education that kids will not get anywhere else,” said Taylor.
The program is part of the national Youth in Government program, which has attracted 68,000 students in 38 states. In Colorado, more than 150 students from throughout the state participate in the program.
Applications for the 2014-2015 season are welcome. The program is open to 7th through 12th graders. The cost is $75 and includes a bill book and materials. As a YMCA program, financial assistance is available to those who quality. More information is at www.denverymca.org/
Youth in Government is facilitated through the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver, which runs programs and services throughout Denver as well as at five locations in downtown Denver, Arvada, Littleton, Southwest Denver, and University Hills.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. www.denverymca.org