65 Years Of Building Citizenship

Last month my husband, Kevin and I had the honor of facilitating the Youth and Government Caucus at Exeter High School for the Southern District. This is our 25th year with the Y & G Program and it never fails to amaze me how dedicated our high school students are to the study of government and the process of legislation.

We began working with Debi Clark Valentine over 35 years ago, when she approached Kevin at Littleton High School and asked him if he would advise a delegation. Little did we know how addictive this annual event would be for us and the number of students it would impact. After retiring in 2006, we found that we wanted to return to the program and, hopefully, volunteer our time to help out in some small way. Debi was kind enough to welcome us “home” and asked if we would serve as advisers to the Senate and House of Representatives.

We had the honor of seeing our students take part in the simulation of NH State Government – taking on the roles of legislators, Governors, Supreme Court justices, lobbyists and Executive Council members. We continue to watch in awe as hundreds of students converge on the State House in Concord each spring and masterfully debate with passion the legislation they have written. This, the 65th year of Youth and Government, is a testimony to the legacy of this program and the impact it has had on thousands of young people over the years – many of whom have gone on to work in federal, state and local government jobs or volunteer their time to their respective communities. It is, indeed an honor to work with these young people and the incredible YMCA staff who have made Y & G possible for so many years.

On March 16, the Exeter High School delegation will attend a Pre Legislative Training Session at the NH State Capitol to prepare for the culminating Model State Legislature in April. Learn more about New Hampshire YMCA Youth and Government.

Many thanks to Helen and Kevin Joyce for their continuing support of the Southern District YMCA Youth and Government program.

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