Youth in Government Program Teaches Leadership
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 11:03 a.m.
As delegates load their buses, delegates are reminded of why they join Youth In Government (YIG). Each student has their own reasons. As a delegate of the program for the past six years, I continue to come back because of the friends I made, the knowledge I learn, and the change I can make.
Last Wednesday, 81 high school teens from Polk County and their advisers left for Tallahassee for the 56th annual YMCA State Youth in Government Assembly. They are participating in a three-day model government experience that they have been preparing for since August. Haley Oberhofer, one of the teens, volunteered to share her experience with us while in Tallahassee.
High school students rarely have the opportunity to participate in programs that allow them to voice their opinions; but in YIG, a youth-run, youth-led program, students are taught to be respectful of others ideas while voicing their own.
As my final year with the program comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on what the program has taught me: servant leadership, respect, honesty, character. The list goes on and on. I am constantly inspired by the students in the program and the leadership behind it.
While debating, writing, presenting, and arguing is fun, it is the lessons and people that cause delegates to come back year after year, because this program is more than just a model government program. It's a safe haven for students to express their voice.
Youth Governor Wiley deliberated with her Cabinet to sign several bills into laws. Wiley was excited to see her policy agenda considered in many of the legislations. Wiley's policy agenda was developed after meeting with governmental agencies and departments in Tallahassee over the summer with the presiding officers.
In addition to announcing bills, several awards were presented and presiding officers announced their successors during closing ceremony. While the seniors are sad to close this chapter of the Youth In Government career, many are considering College Youth In Government.
From debate to dancing, this year's State Assembly was considered a huge success. With the most delegates present in the past eight years, both staff and leadership are thrilled with the high level of turnout and the even high level of debate. Students are looking forward to the 57th State Assembly.
To keep up with all things YIG, check out our blog, The Page Note (www.thepagenote.blogspot.com) and like us on Facebook (Florida YMCA Youth In Government).
[ Haley Oberhofer, senior at All Saints' Academy, has been involved with Youth In Government for the past six years. During her time with the program, she has served as a page, representative, journalist, and now is the editor-in-chief of the press program. ]
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