What is Youth & Government?

Illinois YMCA Youth & Government is a leadership development program for high school students.  Participants immerse themselves in all aspects of Illinois government by assuming roles of legislators, attorneys, executive officials, lobbyists, press members and more.  The culmination of each program year is a 3 day conference in which students debate issues using the actual Illinois Capitol and Supreme Court facilities.

Thousands of Words about Y&G…


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What do our delegates think of their Y&G experience?

I learned more about how our government functions in the one weekend of Springfield than I did in an entire semester of government class at school. It was very inspiring to be around others, and be taught by others who are so passionate about justice and the people of this country.
Student Delegate, 2014
Youth and Government has provided me with great memories and experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. This program has helped me blossom as an individual which enabled me to get over my shyness and will help me in my future. I am glad my teacher recommended the program to me.
Student Delegate, 2013
Youth and Gov has been the best club I ever joined in high school, it has created a love of politics in me. Because of Y&G I might add a minor in Political Science while in college. I look forward to hopefully coming back next as college staff.
Student Delegate, 2013
Honestly it is a great program. I did it all 3 years, and every year was awesome. One of the best things I did in high school, even if I don’t go into any political field in the future. It’s been a lot of fun.
Student Delegate, 2013
I learned an incredible amount through sitting in on legislative sessions and experienced analyzation in a completely new way. The program is absolutely fantastic and I know all of us had a blast.
Student Delegate, 2014
I am blessed to have been part of such an amazing program that has exposed me to our government and I now find myself more involved and aware of our actual government. I owe that to the program.
Student Delegate, 2014
Youth and Government is my favorite club. Despite all the hard work (and procrastination on bench memos), Springfield is my favorite part of the year. I look forward to coming back next year and am considering becoming an advisor.
Student Delegate, 2013
Overall, I really enjoyed the program. Even as a first-timer, I was able to do a lot (be an assistant chief justice, argue my case alone, etc.) and I learned a lot, and made lots of friends. I hope to do it again next year!
Student Delegate, 2013
I have thoroughly enjoyed the amazing experiences over the last three years, and meeting the spectacular people that come down every year. Thank you so much for providing such a spectacular program year in and year out!
Student Delegate, 2014
It really is an amazing experience. You won’t ever get closer to being in the real government. It provides a preview of what certain roles in government are like, yet also is extremely fun.
Student Delegate, 2013
It has been such a fun experience and I’m so happy that I have participated in it the past 3 years. It is something I will never forget and being a part of it has been so much awesome.
Student Delegate, 2014
No news agency or website has taught me what Youth & Government has taught me. There isn’t a program in the state with more hands-on experience or professionals running it.
Student Delegate, 2013
The Y&G experience changed my life and has heavily effected what I plan on doing after high school, I appreciate the opportunity that I was given.
Student Delegate, 2013
I love this program and would like to thank all those involved in putting it together. Springfield was a wonderful learning experience!
Student Delegate, 2013
I personally love Youth & Government with all my heart. I look forward to it every year.
Student Delegate, 2014
This is as close to a real-world role-play as I’ve gotten in my life. It’s like nothing else I’ve experienced in high school.
Student Delegate, 2013
I am planning to go back to Japan and see if our schools could begin a program like this…I loved it and learned so much.
Student Delegate, 2013
Youth & Government is a great program, and I would reccomend it to anyone with an interest in government.
Student Delegate, 2013
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