The mission of the YMCA DC Youth & Government program is to empower youth to become ethical leaders and responsible citizens.
The purpose of the program is to bring the workings of city government to life for the students. It creates a hands-on opportunity for students to discuss current issues with each other both at the local club level and across the greater metropolitan Washington area, as well as share those ideas with city leaders.
Delegates are trained over a school-year program to fulfill the following roles at the Legislative Weekend conference:
- Youth officers are responsible for planning, implementing, and leading the conferences. They must learn legislative procedures as well as the duties of the Youth Mayor, Cabinet, Committee Chairs, Youth City Council Chair, Youth Superintendent, and Youth Editor-in-Chief of the Press Corps.
- Youth participants must follow current affairs, learn parliamentary procedure and proposal-writing skills in order to authorize and vote on proposals, speak their minds on current events, run for office, and vote for officers.
- The Press Corps keeps a careful eye on the proceedings and articulates what it observes by publishing newspapers daily.
- Middle school students serve as conference pages while they learn the mechanics of the program.
The goals of the YMCA DC Youth & Government program are to:
- Practice cooperation, tolerance, and goodwill in making democracy work.
- Provide guidance, training, and experience in determining public policy.
- Confirm the principles of democracy in the life of each citizen.
- Develop the attitude that through action in the branches of government, people can improve their current situation.
- Reveal the importance of the freedoms set forth in the Bill of Rights and the DC charter.
- Have a safe and stable environment to experience democracy.
- Show that an honest disagreement of opinion is healthy for society.