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Growing the next generation of civically engaged Californians

Since 1948, the YMCA’s Youth & Government (Y&G) program has provided an unmatched experiential learning opportunity for high school students. By modeling California’s legislature and courts, participants have the opportunity to build skills such as critical thinking, persuasive speech and writing, project management, and collaboration. Our program is rooted in the YMCA’s core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility, and believes in the importance of servant leadership and media literacy to a healthy democracy. 

Our goal is to grow the next generation of civically engaged Californians. Civically engaged Californians recognize the importance of: 

  • Civic Knowledge: They understand the structure and function of government.
  • 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.

The program is offered through the collaborative effort of local YMCAs.  Participants meet weekly with their local delegations from September through February and roughly once per month from October through February on a coalition or statewide virtual basis.  Statewide conferences remain virtual this year, but local delegation meetings will convene in person, subject to applicable public health guidelines and delegation policy.

Sign up for our mailing list and program registration information here:


The program year runs from September through March. We currently have delegations based in Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, and western Nevada County. Delegation meetings are led by the student officer team. During meetings, delegates have the chance to get to know one another, learn about the basic structures of government, hear from guest speakers, and hear about program leadership opportunities. They’ll also practice their public speaking skills during frequent debates and discussions about today’s top issues.


In addition to weekly meetings, Delegates will attend conference each month from October through March where they will interact with other Delegates from around Northern California. At our virtual conferences, Delegates will hear from keynote speakers, run for elected officer positions, receive training on their program areas, and more. Here is this year’s conference schedule:

  • October 16, 2021 (CapCo In-Person Coalition Day)
  • November 13, 2021 (statewide virtual)
  • January 29, 2022 (statewide virtual)
  • February 26-27, 2022 (statewide virtual)

When we return to in-person programming in the 2022-23 program year, we anticipate returning to an in-person conference schedule that takes advantage of three-day weekends (Veterans' Day Weekend, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Weekend, and Presidents' Day Weekend) to lessen the impact of participation on school attendance. (Participation in Youth & Government programming, however, constitutes an excused absence under the California Education Code.)


Delegates will focus on one of several available program areas designed to equip them with the tools they need to become and remain civically engaged throughout life and to advocate for themselves and their communities. Delegates will learn about trending policy topics in subject areas like Education, the Environment, Public Safety, and more. They'll learn how legislation is made as they act as Legislators, Advocates, or Analysts. A court program will teach participants about the impact of lawsuits and legal decisions on public policy.

Fees and financial aid

Our program fee for the 2021-22 year is $250. Financial assistance is available.

We are committed to equal program access for all and are dedicated to ensuring the benefits of Y&G are available to every student in our community without regard to financial need. No delegate should ever drop out or refrain from joining because of financial concerns. If you want to do this program, we want you to do this program!

Questions? Contact:


To join our volunteer adult advising team, visit





Secretariats are Y&G MLC Delegates who serve as role models and helpers to our middle school ambassadors. Secretariats will learn leadership and mentoring skills as well as facilitation skills as they assist Ambassadors in completing their MUN projects. Secretariats help with meeting and conference set up and clean up. 

PROGRAM FEES: $40 per Secretariat. Fee covers: program materials and supplies, snacks, meals (2 lunches, 1 dinner) and pool party at Summit. Financial Aid is available.


  • Meeting 1 - Monday, April 25, 6-7:15pm
  • Meeting 2 - Monday, May 2, 6-7:15pm
  • Meeting 3 - Monday, May 9, 6-7:15pm

Sac Central Delegation: 1926 V Street, Sacramento, 95818

Gold Country: 240 Mill Street, Grass Valley 95945 SUMMIT: Sacramento Central YMCA (Association Offices) 1926 V Street, Sacramento, 95818


  • Saturday, May 14, 9a-8p
  • Sunday, May 15, 9a-3p