Youth In Government
Who We Are
Since 1936, YMCA Youth In Government (YIG) has given students around the country the opportunity to serve as part of a youth-run, youth-led model government process.
The Florida YMCA Youth In Government program was founded in 1957, and for more than 60 years, delegates have been actively engaged with the issues that impact their families, schools, YMCAs and communities.
The YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg offers the program for both high school and middle school students, grades 6-12, with chapters currently at the following locations:
- Northeast High School
- Osceola High School
- Bay Point Middle School
- Madeira Beach Middle School
- Meadowlawn Middle School
- Pinellas Park Middle School
In addition, a community-based chapter is open to all high school and middle school members of the St. Petersburg area. This chapter meets virtually and will continue this format until further notice.
If you are interested in having a chapter at your school, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
The vision of this program is to "create a legacy of tomorrow’s leaders... and enable students from all walks of life to lead and serve in their localities, and wherever life may bring them."
- Matthew C., YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg Youth In Government Student
What We Do
Build servant leaders
At all levels, the YMCA Youth In Government program is designed to help delegates understand that in order to lead, you must first learn how to serve others. In doing so, students are immersed in YMCA core values (caring, honesty, respect and responsibility) and service learning through projects and hands-on leadership development and opportunities. The practice of guiding students to learn, serve and lead is a foundation of the program.
Prepare engaged citizens
The Youth In Government model government process is designed to prepare students for a life of engaged and active citizenship built on the values of civil debate, statesmanship and research-based policy solutions. The annual State Assembly invites high school students from across Florida to join together at the State Capitol in Tallahassee to serve in the actual Senate and House chambers, Cabinet and Supreme Court offices during a 4-day model government session. The Junior Assembly for middle school students follows a similar model and takes place in Haines City, Florida.
Teach democracy to each generation
Through service and engagement, YMCA Youth In Government strives to inspire future generations to embody the Y’s areas of focus - for youth development, for healthy living and for social responsibility. In addition to empowering service-minded, community-committed, civically-knowledgeable youth leaders, the program goals intend to inspire:
- Awareness of societal issues and solutions
- Confidence in and dedication to the democratic process
- Increased participative leadership skills
- Increased communication skills
- Respect for diverse viewpoints
- Accountability and respect for the rights of others
- Application of moral and ethical values processes to public policy making
- Enriching the formal education process with reality-based learning experiences
Career exposure for youth
Youth In Government greatly values investing in the youth of today as leaders of tomorrow, and offers many benefits to students in St. Petersburg. Beyond hands-on exposure to the processes that power their community, students in the program are likely to cultivate a sense of achievement and belonging; develop professional and personal skills; earn service hours; be eligible for college credits or waivers; and have access to positive relationships and mentorship experiences.