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Rancho Family YMCA’s Youth & Government Program
Posted on November 22, 2011
Everyone remembers when they were in school and they attended their history classes. You heard about the government, and how it “worked” but did it ever really click? The Rancho Family YMCA has a program that makes the government process something that any 9th through 12th grader can get involved in.
“Help your child prepare for their future!” This is the idea behind the Youth and Government (Y&G) program at the Rancho Family YMCA. Jesse Pazdernik – the contact person for the Y&G – says that the purpose of the program is to bring the workings of state government alive to students.
“This program is for any student who is interested in learning more about government and meeting new people. It is the mission of California YMCA Youth & Government to ensure that leadership, democracy, and the YMCA core values of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility are learned by each generation,” states Pazdernik.
While being a Y&G delegate, a student learns how to speak in front of people with clarity, making sure to convey each point precisely. “The student delegate also learns how to be persuasive and improve their communication and writing skills,” adds Pazdernik.
Membership in Y&G involves a wide variety of activities. Participants can be senators, assemblymen, press media, trial court members, and other exciting positiions.
Each YMCA has their own delegation, and the Rancho Family YMCA’s delegation is brand new this year. The delegations work on bills, public speaking and fundraising, while learning about the fundamentals of government.
The work, learning, and preparations that are accomplished at the local delegation level eventually lead to a trip to Sacramento, where all 2,500 participants attend. They get to work in the Capitol building for five days. “Each delegation brings a bill that the Senate and Assembly debate on. The bills go through committees, then on to the floors, and eventually (if voted “yes”) on to the Youth Governor’s desk. Once there, they can be signed into Y&G law and passed on to the actual Legislature for consideration. On the last day in Sacramento, the Youth Governor and the Secretary of State are elected for the next year,” Pazdernik adds.
Registering to become part of Y&G is simple. Interested students should contact Pazdernik by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 858-484-8788 ext 301. After the student completes their registration, they attend weekly meetings. Pazdernik encourages parents to attend the first meeting. Additional information can be found at www.rancho.ymca.org/test/teen-programs.html or www.calymca.org.