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By Heidi Fogle                         Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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October 16, 2015                     
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2015 delegation from Northwest YMCA in Cupertino
      Photo courtesy of the East Palo Alto Family YMCA
The 2015 delegation from Northwest YMCA in Cupertino
at the California State Capitol in Sacramento, CA.

 

For Diana James-Cairns, it's an exciting new program for East Palo Alto and Menlo Park teens. James-Cairns is the marketing communications manager at the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA and she is talking about the youth and government program that is kicking off its inaugural year at the East Palo Alto YMCA on Monday, October 19.

The program, which is formally called the Youth in Government Model Legislature and Court program, is a national program of the YMCA that dates back to the late 1930s. It began as the California YMCA Youth & Government Program in 1948 and it currently boasts 2,800 participants from over 85 delegations across the state.

Teens from across California, who participate in the program, meet in their local clubs throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect California citizens and to propose possible legislation. The program culminates with the teens serving as delegates at a statewide conference, the Model Legislature and Court in Sacramento, where they debate their bills on the floor of the legislature.

The YMCA's youth and government program is designed to inspire local youth to engage with important social issues and to get involved in the democratic process. Program participants gain valuable experience in leadership, public speaking, research and writing, teamwork, and critical thinking. In addition, they have the chance to impact their state in a real way, since the bills they propose may be introduced to the actual California State Legislature, where they could become law.

All teens in grades 9-12 living in East Palo Alto or San Mateo County are encouraged to attend an information session on Monday, October 19 at 5:00 PM at the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA.

For more information about the youth and government program, contact Heidi Fogle at (650) 687-5308 or heidi.fogle@ymcasv.org.

Heidi Fogle, the author of this article, is the aquatics, youth and family program specialist for the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA. See more information online about the Youth in Government Model Legislature and Court program and the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA at http://www.ymcasv.org/eastpaloalto/html/programs_educationleadership.html