youth and government delegates at table
youth and government delegates at table

Understanding that every person has the right and responsibility to be civically engaged is key to a young person’s development. At the Y, we believe all young people should have the opportunity to find their voice and discover that their voice matters. By encouraging them to volunteer, advocate and participate in civic discussions — all while employing the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility — we help youth build skills and knowledge for serving as engaged, responsible residents.

With programs like YMCA Youth and Government, teens learn about the democratic process, develop as critical thinkers, build an awareness of social issues and grow confidence in their own abilities to create solutions. Youth and Government engages thousands of high school and middle school students in 40 states, and this month about 700 of them are gathering for the annual YMCA Conference on National Affairs in North Carolina, where they’ll present their ideas for legislative change and engage in respectful debates with teens of diverse backgrounds.

Knowing they have a voice in the governance of their local, state, national and even international communities can open their eyes to their own potential and ignite their passion for serving others. Civic engagement also helps youth build skills for becoming successful adults. Students who participate in civic-minded events often:

  • Gain a greater awareness of the community
  • Interact with old and new friends
  • Learn to value differences and build cultural competency skills
  • Build confidence in their abilities to contribute to society
  • Develop skills in leadership, citizenship, planning and communication

Speak with staff at your local Y to learn more about opportunities for youth to get involved in civic activities in your area or visit our website for more information:


Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas