The Wisconsin YMCA Youth in Government (YIG) program provides teens with a unique opportunity to learn how to be civically engaged by acting as state legislators, lawyers, justices and media. Students simulate all phases and positions of the actual state government and are challenged with many of the same issues our real legislators must face in their elected offices.
The program is open to all students in grades 7-12 and engages hundreds of students from across the state each year. During the culminating conference in Madison, participants take over the historic halls and chambers of the Wisconsin State Capitol and Supreme Court. Legislation is debated and court cases are decided, as students apply skills they have gained in the program.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
YIG participants, called “delegates,” are given the choice between the following program areas:
LEGISLATURE Youth Representatives and Senators identify state issues important to them, their families, their schools, or their communities and write legislation to improve our state. Delegates present their bills in committee hearings at Pre-Gov and on the house and senate floors in the Capitol Building in Madison.
PRESS CORPS Media delegates are responsible for reporting, producing and publishing several news programs each day via newspaper and digital media. They interact with all program areas and report their findings to students and advisors at the conference. Our press corps website is here.
SUPREME COURT Judicial delegates play the dual role of lawyer and justice. Court members prepare for hearings and make arguments before Youth Justices. Each student will prepare a brief and argue their assigned side of a case, plus have an opportunity to serve on the bench and pass judgment on cases.
EXECUTIVE BRANCH Comprised of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State, these student leaders are voted in by their peers and serve the state program for the duration of their one-year term.
To contact your local delegation or the state office to create a new one, click here.
Email the State Director, Jen Zwicky at firstname.lastname@example.org.