Youth Voices: Featuring original work written by high school students
By Tsering Lhadon
Youth programs play a very important role in children’s lives today. Such programs allow youth to learn in different environments and promote knowledge as well as awareness. They also help youth to express themselves and their capabilities. One of these youth program called Youth in Government lets the younger generation learn about democracy and how each and every person can make a difference. The YIG helps children express their individuality through public speaking, giving them opportunities to develop their leadership skills as well as make new friends. It helps participants understand the democratic process. The YMCA YIG stands on the four major core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. There are YIG branches established throughout the United States and it is Malden’s first delegation. Although this is Malden’s first delegation, YIG has been running in Massachusetts for 29 years and currently consists of 200 members.
In YIG, there are five branches where students can choose from: Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch, Executive Branch, Press Corps and Lobbying Corps. The Legislative Branch allows students to debate, write and participate in law-making process. The Judicial Branch is for students who are interested in the law, arguing, grappling with moral issues and writing the laws. The Executive Branch allows students to exercise and develop their leadership qualities. The Press Corps is for students who are interested in writing, doing research and reporting news. They also get an opportunity to publish their articles in The Beacon. And lastly the Lobbying Corps allows student who likes to influence others with their point of view and advocate for positions. Students also get opportunity to apply for leadership positions in their respective branches.
Through YIG, the students are able to participate in the state Pre-Legislative Conference for three Saturdays, where they represent their own delegations. Before the conference, students meet at the local level every one or two weeks after school for meetings that last about two to three hours.
Currently the Massachusetts YIG has ended its Pre-Legislative 3 Conference and is now heading toward the Model Government Conference, which will be held March 13 to 14 at the Omni Parker Hotel in Boston.
Connie Lam is in the Delegate Leadership Council of the Malden delegation. At first, she didn’t really like the idea of the YIG as she never had any interest in politics but when she saw her friend going on one of the meetings, she joined anyway. The first meeting included a brief summary about YIG, which she “kind of” liked. It was not until the Pre-Legislative 1 Conference that she truly fell in love with YIG. Lam loved all the people that she met. Now she “loves” the idea of writing a bill and seeing if it would pass, just like how laws are passed in the real world.
This post is also available in: Chinese