Model Legislature & Court

For Students in Grades 9-12

For over 75 years, California YMCA Youth & Government has provided high school youth throughout California an experiential learning program by modeling California’s legislature and courts. The program offers teen youth participants from around the state the opportunity to collaborate with others, make new friends, and build skills such as critical thinking, persuasive public speaking, writing and research. Youth & Government is rooted in the YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility and is a platform for social responsibility, servant leadership and personal development.  We strive to offer a program where everyone feels a sense of belonging and that we help to support the spirit, mind and body of every individual.

Our goal is to nurture the next generation of civically engaged Californians so that they recognize the importance of:

  • Civic Knowledge: They understand the structure, function, and procedures of the California Legislature, including bill development.
  • Civic Awareness: They can identify the major issues facing their communities.
  • Civic Action: They are equipped with the tools they’ll need to make change in their community and can identify the importance of mutual respect, personal responsibility, and active listening in group settings.

The 77th The Model Legislature & Court will bring together more than 1,800 youth participants representing over 60 delegations across California. Delegates will convene on a weekly basis at local delegation meetings. The program will include in-person program events in November and February that allow participants the opportunity to put their training into action as they assume their selected roles. Legislation is debated and court cases are decided, as students apply skills they have gained in the program.

Our delegate driven program includes many opportunities for teens to experience true leadership.  Our program is led by our Youth Governor, Secretary of State, and Chief Justice with support and guidance from our more than 100 dedicated volunteers.      
 


Itzak Salazar, the 77th Youth Governor, will be a senior at the Science Academy Stem Magnet School. He loves meeting new people and debating with his delegation because he believes it is a unique opportunity he has been granted. Outside of Youth & Government, Itzak stays active with several youth advocacy groups. He founded the Latinx Club at his school and a youth climate coalition focused on creating resolutions for issues in his community, with the goal of helping his peers create change. Outside of school, he loves sports, exploring with friends and family, and listening to music. He hopes to promote year-long engagement while helping each delegation grow. Itzak values the importance of each individual voice and is dedicated to helping everyone realize their true potential and the importance of their ideas.

Briana, the 77th Youth Secretary of State for the Model Legislature & Court, will be a senior at Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy.  She was Vice President of her delegation this past year and will be Secretary for this following year. Aside from Youth and Government, Briana devotes her time to her school's debate team, where she has won multiple speaker awards. Briana spends a great deal of her time raising awareness on social justice issues. Through the Youth & Government program, Briana has learned much about many issues in the government and world. She aspires to continue learning and growing in the program going into her last year. From a program that gave her so much, she hopes that with her new position she can give back even a fraction of what it gave her.

Brooke Drew, the 77th Youth Chief Justice, will be a senior in high school attending Granada Hills Charter High School. Brooke has been involved in Y&G since her freshman year. Prior to her experience in Youth & Government, Brooke participated in Model United Nations with her middle school, having a long history with pursuing interest in political systems and diplomatic policy. Brooke has been able to build her reputation by serving as the Feminists Empowering Voices for Equal Rights (FEVER) chair in her sophomore year, as well as consistently receiving the "Best Speaker" award all three years. Outside of Youth & Government, Brooke works hard in both school and other endeavors, having a job for 2 years, going after personally motivated service projects, and spending time with friends and family. Brooke has a deep regard for education on all governmental topics, with a focus on justice systems. Brooke attributes her position to the large and overwhelming support of her peers, both within and outside of the program. She is excited and grateful for this experience and what is to come with her remaining time in the program.    
 


For information about registration or help finding your local delegation, please email Lisa Daddario, Associate Executive Director, at LisaDaddario@ymcaLA.org.  For more program information, please contact Ali Sheaffer, Associate Executive Director, AliSheaffer@ymcaLA.org.

 

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