Youth & Government for All

Maryland Y Youth & Government is open to every high school student in the state of Maryland regardless of how much or how little he/she may know about government and the legislative process.

As a participant, students (referred to as delegates) from the same area or school form small groups (referred to as delegations) that meet weekly under the guidance of an adult advisor. Delegations are arranged regionally and in connection with a sponsoring entity, typically a Y or high school.

To find a delegation in your area, please email mdyandg@ymaryland.org. Please be sure to include the name of the area or school you are interested in joining.


Program Dates

Registration for Youth & Government typically begins in late October or early November. Delegations begin meeting in December and the program runs through the end of April.


Program Roles

Throughout the program, delegates learn about government, the democratic process, leadership, legislative roles, and attend statewide conferences; all in preparation for a statewide 3-day mock legislative session held in Annapolis.

Each delegate will choose a program role to portray during the mock legislative assembly and through a series of training conferences (and in regular weekly meetings), delegates will learn how to fulfill the responsibilities of their role.

SENATE/HOUSE OF DELEGATES

Role: Develop, debate and decide which bills should be passed into law.

Members of the Senate and the House of Delegates are responsible for sponsoring or co-sponsoring their delegation’s bills. At each stage of the legislative process, members of the Senate and House of Delegates will debate the merit of the bills and determine if they should  advance through the process and/or be amended through a series of speeches and votes.

LOBBYISTS

Role: Influence the political process as the Senate/House of Delegates makes their decisions.

As a lobbyist, delegates will work with a small group to influence legislation on behalf of a client and write/campaign for a piece of legislation placed on the ballot for public referendum. Excelling as a lobbyist involves writing and delivering compelling arguments, as well as using interpersonal skills to influence the legislative process.

PRESS

Role: Produce online updates, news articles, a video newscast and more.

The Press is broken into two divisions: print and broadcast. Under the direction of a student editor, each division is responsible for reporting on topics related to the conference and the program at large including, interviewing officers and delegates, writing/producing editorials and public interest pieces, newsletters, newscasts, digital content, etc. Members of the press are also responsible for questioning candidates as they campaign for office, contributing to the annual slide show and various special projects.

COURT

Role: Prepare and give arguments on the constitutionality of a law.

The court includes an appellate court and a trail court experience. Attorneys in the appellate court work in small teams to argue the constitutionality of a law before a panel of justices. Attorneys in the trial court work in small teams as both plaintiffs and defendants to present a case in front of a practicing attorney. Excelling in either appellate or trial court involves careful preparation and excellent oral arguments


Conferences

STATEWIDE LEGISLATIVE TRAINING: January, 1 day

During the training conference, delegates will have the opportunity to connect with peers inside and outside of their delegation and attend sessions on a variety of topics, including specific program roles, the bill writing process, running for office, and a Maryland policy briefing.

STATEWIDE PRE-LEGISLATIVE SESSION: March, 1 day

Delegates dive deeper into their roles, getting specialized training and work collaboratively with their peers in other delegations. This conference also includes the campaigning, election and appointment of the Y & G statewide officers and the first reading of bills that will be considered in the mock legislative session.

STATEWIDE MOCK LEGISLATIVE AND COURT SESSIONS: April, 3 days

Delegates participate directly in the democratic process in this experiential learning conference in Annapolis. Delegates have the privilege of using the actual facilities of  Maryland government, including the State House, the House of Delegates Office Building and the Anne Arundel Circuit Court. In addition to the rigorous debating, writing and presenting, delegates also enjoy social events, a banquet and other activities.

CONFERENCE ON NATIONAL AFFAIRS: July, 1 week

The Conference On National Affairs (CONA) is a national program that attracts the best and the brightest from the Youth & Government programs across 40 states. Held at the beautiful Camp Blue Ridge in North Carolina, CONA delegates write, debate and vote on proposals that address national concerns. The Maryland delegation for CONA is selected through an application process which considers the assets each delegate brings to the team as well as past performance and future aspirations. All Youth & Government delegates do not attend CONA.