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YOUTH AND
GOVERNMENT

OVERVIEW

The Youth & Government program is a six-month program in which high-school aged delegates (9th-12th grades) learn about California’s government and the changes they can make in their communities. Students will role-play various positions of the California State Legislature and the State Court systems. Students participate by joining their high school delegation and attending weekly meetings where they discuss issues facing California and the ways the legislative and judicial branches can effect change.

Within their delegations students may have the opportunity to:

  • Create bills
  • Research and practice court cases
  • Attend Model Legislature & Court conferences

WHAT IS MLC?

California YMCA Youth & Government’s Model Legislature & Court (MLC) has been the state’s premier youth leadership and civic development program since 1948. The MLC creates a six-month learn-by-doing experience that teaches the values of democracy by bringing together a cross-section of the state’s high school students. This program provides them with the opportunity to experience government first-hand and to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process as well as debate and discuss issues with their peers from throughout California.

UPCOMING SESSIONS

73rd MODEL LEGISLATURE & COURT

WINTER SESSION – Bringing It Back To The State

Program Dates: January 11th – February 11th
Conference Dates: February 11th – 13th

*All activities are held virtually.

Delegates will meet in communities across California to prepare for the Winter Session of our Model Legislature & Court Program: Bringing it Back to the State. Delegates will choose one of three program areas, each focusing on improving California. They can choose to serve in California’s Legislature where they’ll offer up ways to make California a better place to call home by debating new ideas with their fellow delegates as well as working to compromise and come together. If the Legislative Houses program area isn’t the right fit, they can select the Financial Program where they’ll be tasked with creating innovative solutions to the state’s problems and will compete with each other to find out whose proposal the Youth State Treasurer and their board will fund. If participating in the third program area, delegates will have the chance to flex their legal skills by arguing important constitutional issues before the California Appellate Court.

Outside of their program area, delegates will also have the opportunity to run for elected office, connect with their peers at statewide socials, hear from exciting guest speakers, and start the process of selecting who will serve as the 74th Chief Justice next year!

Winter Session Leadership Opportunities:

The Winter session of the Model Legislature & Court program will have a number of leadership opportunities for delegates! With three elected positions and up to twenty appointed positions, the opportunities are boundless.

 – Speaker of the Assembly
 – Lieutenant Governor
 – State Treasurer
 – Legislative Committee Chair
 – Authority Board Chair
 – Lead Appellant
 – Lead Respondent
 – Lead Judge 

Program Area: Legislative Houses 

Legislative Houses is the original Model Legislature & Court program area. Delegates can look forward to the exciting experience of serving as a member of the State Assembly or State Senate. Over the course of five weeks delegates can look forward to learning more about:

  • How California’s legislative process works
  • Ways to be involved in making changes from the top down
  • How to prepare for and give persuasive speeches
  • Basic skills in how to write different kinds of legislation. 

 The program is a great fit for delegates who love to speak and are excited by the prospect of working with their peers to build coalitions. 

Program Area: Financial 

The Financial Program centers around one unavoidable fact: In order for an idea to be successful, you need to know how to pay for it. Delegates in this program area will work in groups to form their own companies and come up with a way they think the private sector could benefit California residents. In the end, the companies will go head-to-head and compete against each other as they vie for funding from the California State Treasurer. Over the course of five weeks delegates can look forward to learning more about:

  • How public and private partnerships are administered by the State of California
  • The balance between the private sector and public institutions in improving people’s lives
  • How to prepare for and give an impactful presentation

 Nicknamed the “Shark Tank of Youth & Government”, this program is great for any delegate who is a team player, but likes competition.

Program Area: Appellate Court 

The Appellate Court program area is where a party that lost at the trial court level can appeal their loss.  An appeal to an Appellate Court is not to re-hear or re-decide the facts of the case already determined by a judge and/or jury in the trial court, such as whether the defendant violated the law.  Rather, the Appellate Court decides “matters of law.” There’s no jury or witnesses, just the attorneys and justices. Over the course of five weeks delegates can look forward to learning more about:

  • How to read and understand legal documents
  • Developing and using oral advocacy skills
  • What legal reasoning, judicial temperament and opinion writing means in a judicial setting

This program area is not only great for delegates who have any interest in pursuing a career in law but also any delegate hoping to expand their critical thinking and oral argument skills.

73rd MODEL LEGISLATURE & COURT

SPRING SESSION – All Politics Are Local

Program Dates: February 22nd – March 25th
Conference Dates: March 25th – 27th

*All activities are held virtually.

During our Spring Session we’ll focus on how to make change in our local communities. Within their local delegations, participants will spend time discussing what they can do to improve K-12 education in their communities, as well as what types of advocacy work they want to be a part of in their neighborhood. Delegates may decide to take on the role of a student advocate working with their school board or a campaign manager working on a grassroots advocacy campaign. In addition to the Education and Advocacy programs, this session will also include Bench Trial and California Supreme Court programs.

Outside of their program area delegates will also have the opportunity to run for elected office, connect with their peers at statewide socials, hear from exciting guest speakers, and start the process of selecting who will serve as the 74th Chief Justice next year.

Program Area: Education 

Our education program this year will give delegates a better understanding of how education policy is decided and administered at a local level. Additionally, delegates will also walk away with confidence they need in order to advocate for higher quality education in their communities. Over the course of five weeks delegates can look forward to learning more about:

  • How school systems are administered at a local level
  • The role that states and individuals play in education
  • How to prepare for and give persuasive speeches
  • How to prepare for and give an impactful presentation

Program Area: Bench Trial Court 

The trial court section of the Model Legislature & Court program gives delegates a chance to feel what it’s like to actually try a case in front of a judge. Delegates participating in the Bench Trial program develop their skills as litigators by participating in activities focused on public speaking, learning about the process of a court trial, and discovering the secrets of arguing a position in court. Over the course of five weeks delegates can look forward to learning more about:

  • How to read and understand legal documents
  • Developing and use oral advocacy skills
  • What legal reasoning, judicial temperament, and opinion writing means in a judicial setting

This program area is not only great for delegates who have any interest in pursuing a career in law but also any delegate hoping to expand their critical thinking and oral argument skills.

Program Area: Supreme Court 

Supreme Court members are provided a “case” and fact patterns involving interesting and challenging legal issues. Included with the cases are “precedent” case materials (real opinions written by other state and federal courts) whose analysis the delegates apply to their cases. The attorneys and justices work together to review and discuss the cases with staff attorneys, and then work separately to develop their oral arguments (for the attorneys) and questions (for the justices). Over the course of 5 weeks delegates can look forward to learning more about:

  • How to read and understand legal documents.
  • Develop and use oral advocacy skills.
  • How our state’s court system works at the highest level

This program is ideal for any returning Youth & Government court delegates or delegates who are ready to step into one of our most challenging and complex program areas. Participation in this program is by application/selection only. 

LEADERSHIP/ELECTIONS:

– Final Election for the 74th Youth Governor & 74th Chief Justice will take place during the Spring Session

CONTACT US

  • (Select all that apply if multiple children)
  • Enter names of all children that will be enrolling.