Youth and Government About


Youth and Government began as a YMCA after school program for High School Students in New York State in 1936. The program offered a mock state legislature and proved to an inspirational leadership experience for youth and adults. The program spread across the United States and in 1967 the YMCA offered its first Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) which brings youth from across the country together to debate issues of national and international concern.

In May of 2015 the YMCA of Northern Utah held its first Youth and Government Conference, becoming the 40th state in the Union to offer Youth and Government to teens across the state. The 2015 Jr. High School Conference was held in the Utah State Senate Building and included 21 7th-9th graders from Eisenhower Jr. High, Mount Ogden Jr. High, and Highland Jr. High.  

Who is eligible to join? 

Any teen who lives in the state of Utah and is in 6th to 12th grade may join or start a Youth and Government program in their school. Utah Youth and Government is divided into Jr. High and High School Programs and youth will be invited to the Jr. High or High School State Conference based on their school and grade level.

Teens who join Youth and Government must be able to attend meetings in person regularly, if there is not a program that is accessible to a teen interested in Youth and Government, teens have the option to begin a program in his/her school with the support of a faculty or staff adviser.

What do we do in Youth and Government? 

Each school program is different, but most schools follow the Jr. High or High School Curriculum set out for them by the YMCA of Northern Utah. Students in the Youth and Government Program plan and participate in monthly service projects, learn how to write a bill for the Utah State House of Representatives, practice presenting and debating their bills, learn how to respectfully debate the bills of their peers, and learn the basic structure of State Government. 

The Utah Youth and Government Jr. High program is single house Mock Legislature Program that occurs in the fall.

The Utah Youth and Government High School program is a Bicameral Mock Legislature and Press Corps that occurs in the spring.

The majority of the school year is spent preparing for the State Conference where youth will present their bills, debate them in committees and on the house/senate floor, and vote to pass them through the mock legislature.

Contact Us

For questions regarding Youth and Government, please contact Megan Vlaming | Email | Phone: 801.839.3385