Florida YMCA Youth In Government

Starting a YIG Program

7 Steps to starting YIG (in, at or around your YMCA

Remember these suggestions should be tailored to the needs and personalities of your local communities you serve.

1. Check to see if you have a Local Program in your area! Contact your local Delegation leader or the state office for help throughout this process. 

2. Look to the Board of your local YMCA for past volunteers, parents of participants, or alumni of the Youth In Government program (Florida or otherwise) – while the details of the program may vary from state to state, the enthusiasm of those who have been involved is quite contagious. Also seek out those who may be able to help you make contact with your local high school (public or private), school system, or home school community.

3. Meet with the school principal to share the program’s goals and objectives. Ask to be directed to the appropriate member of the staff. Guidance counselors are an excellent alternative if the principal’s schedule does not allow for a meeting.

 or –

Meet with a teacher to discuss the program and let him/her suggest the best approach for establishing a new Chapter. The chair of the Social Studies department may be an ideal place to begin this search. Please note that teachers in Social Studies, Debate, Math, Science, Theatre, and English have all made excellent advisors over the years.

4. Once an advisor has been identified, presentations to selected classes or meetings with students after school to introduce the program are effective. Whenever possible have a current participant, recent graduate, or prominent alumnus of the program make the “pitch” – this makes for a more effective sell and starts the trend of youth-run, youth-led early on.

5. Keep in mind that Youth In Government is not for everyone. While the program can be a life changing experience for some teens – the appeal is not universal. The program requires time, energy, fun-loving spirit, and commitment!  Teens seem especially drawn to and value the program because of:

The freedom of choice

The acceptance of responsibility WITH accountability

The opportunity to seek social change

The realistic coping with “real world” concerns

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