Developed in 1936, Youth in Government (YiG) has been a guiding factor to thousands of young adults, helping them become informed and involved on the workings of their country’s government. By attending weekly meetings with their delegation, monthly sessions with other delegations, a multi-day conference held at the State House, and even a national conference upon acceptance, this student government allows teens to experience the processes and protocols exemplary of a true government.
Delegates are first given a choice of what branch they want to be involved in - legislative, executive, judicial, or a press component. Step into a room named “Mock Trial” and you may be bombarded with fierce arguments for either sides of a case. Step into a room named “Bill-Writing” to see delegates collaborating together to create their own actual legislative bills, that eventually result in presentations and controversial debates between other delegates. Step into any room filled with a YiG member to see how empowering a young adult can be, simply by being given vocal opportunity.
The Malden Delegation is one of the many in the state, formed in 2012, and has been growing ever since. By attending meetings at the local YMCA, students from schools such as Malden High School and Mystic Valley Regional Charter School are able to come together to better their public speaking and leadership skills. Delegate and junior Patricia Luong began in her freshman year of high school, and believes that it has allowed her to “develop not only academically but personally as well. [She] has gained public speaking skills that have helped in school, interviews, and other endeavors…[meeting] so many new people, [making] friendships, and [experiencing] life-changing opportunities.” She has also held many high positions and even participated in the national conference of the program.
Recently, the Malden Delegation attended the first of three pre-legislative sessions at Springfield College, where more than 300 young adults (and even a few middle schoolers) came together to officially kick start the YiG year. The delegates engaged in networking activities, public speaking and leadership workshops, as well as group activities, meeting people from all over the state and indulging in the college’s great food. First-year delegate Allysa Tuon considered it to be a "fun and nice way to meet new friends from other cities, especially allowing you to interact with new people." She is one of the many excited newcomers that has joined the program this year.
In the end, Youth in Government feels nothing like a Government or Political Science course. It is much more than memorizing definitions or taking tests - instead, it is a series of life lessons that teens can use for years on end after being encouraged by a welcoming family from all over the state. The experiences, skills, and bonds as a result of the program come from people of entirely different backgrounds, states, and nationalities, helping teens grow as individuals where they are no longer onlookers to their country’s government, but actual participants, fighting to make a change.
This letter to the editor was submitted by Michelle Chung.If you have an opinion or an idea of something to cover that you have intimate knowledge about, or if you simply want to communicate with the school, submit a letter to the editor to J387 or talk to a member of the Blue & Gold staff for a chance to be featured in our next edition!