Our Cause

Guided by the organization’s motto “Democracy Must Be Learned By Each Generation,” California YMCA Youth & Government builds values-based leadership and civic engagement in California’s youth in order to strengthen participation in our democracy.

The YMCA is a cause-driven organization that focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. California YMCA Youth & Government is an integral part of the YMCA movement and has been providing service to local YMCAs for more than 64 years. We now engage over 3,000 middle school and high school youth each year from across the state in programs emphasizing civic involvement. Our efforts build, strengthen and encourage life assets and positive character traits.

The hands-on programs of California YMCA Youth & Government provide positive opportunities and experiences for youth. Participants strengthen their communities by becoming active and responsible contributors who are inspired to lead, and are empowered to create meaningful change.

This year, California YMCA Youth & Government:

  • Awarded 133 block grants to YMCA delegations statewide.
  • Served more than 2,500 high school students in the 65th Model Legislature & Court program.
  • Served more than 700 middle school participants in the 11th Model United Nations program.
  • Provided 183 adults the opportunity to serve as volunteer program staff.

California YMCA Youth & Government makes a difference

Since its inception, California YMCA Youth & Government has made a significant impact on the civic involvement of the youth we serve. Research shows dramatic results when comparing civic participation of California YMCA Youth & Government alumni with that of the general public.

A published academic study done several years ago gave statistical validity to the influence that participation in Y&G can have on future civic involvement. California YMCA Youth & Government alumni were shown to out-perform the general population in the percentage of those registering to vote (96% vs. 66%), in actually voting in the most recent election (87% vs. 54%), in working on community issues (43% vs. 17%), by being members of a board (15% vs. 3%), and in earning a bachelor’s degree (88% vs. 25%).  Clearly, the California YMCA Youth & Government experience is creating more engaged citizens.

Click here to read about how you can get involved with California YMCA Youth & Government.