Youth Advocates Learn and Lead

students at Youth and Government Conference 2023

“In a world that currently feels divisive and politically polarizing, the Y is preparing tomorrow’s civic leaders to respectfully collaborate in powerful solutions-focused conversations through the Youth and Government program and conference,” said Amber McClure Director of Teen Civic Engagement for YMCA of the Triangle and State Director for Youth and Government. 

More than 700 teens, advisors and volunteers gathered February 16-19 in Raleigh for the YMCA of the Triangle’s 31st NC YMCA Youth and Government Conference. Across the state there are about 600 youth participants from approximately 40 Youth & Government delegations. This nationwide civic program prepares high school students for moral and political leadership; they learn about the legislative and judicial process, and then come together each February to experience the governmental process first-hand through a youth-led model. 

Teens took on the roles of politicians, attorneys, judges or members of the media during the conference. They developed critical thinking and social skills and gained confidence in public speaking, respectful debates with people from different backgrounds, and learned the importance of voting. 

“Youth and Government gives me an opportunity to share my voice with others and know that I will be heard and met with respect in return. It has strengthened my communication and problem-solving skills,” said newly elected 32nd Governor Cooper Herrett. “Thanks to YAG, I’ve learned how to ultimately be a stronger student, citizen and human!”

YMCAs that want to learn more about starting a Youth and Government delegation may contact; clubs launch in October each year.