Youth Advocate Program

Program Information

Dates: March 3-6, 2019

Location: Renaissance Hotel
999 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Contact: Elena Rocha


National Programs

Conference on National Affairs
National Judicial Competition
Youth Advocate Program
Youth Governors Conference

2019 Youth Advocate Program Overview

YMCA of the USA’s Government Relations and Policy office is excited to continue the Youth Advocate Program at National Advocacy Days. The program brings together high school Youth and Government students to learn about how advocacy advances the Y’s three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Youth Advocates participate in all National Advocacy Days activities as well as special programming facilitated by Youth and Government staff. This separate programming will expose Youth Advocates to the Y, national policymaking, Y-USA advocacy efforts, public policy career tracks and much more.

At National Advocacy Days, Youth Advocates will:

  • Learn about Y-USA’s national legislative priorities
  • Hear from thought leaders about the Ys role and impact in communities
  • Visit with members of Congress and/or their staff
  • Connect with Youth Advocates from across the country
  • Meet with Y-USA, YMCA and state alliance leadership from across the country
  • Share their Y story


Youth Advocate Training Calls

To ensure that all Youth Advocates are as prepared as possible for their role at National Advocacy Days, all students are required to participate in 3 training calls. The dates and times of each training call are below. Please mark your calendars now. Additional information will be disseminated in advance of each training call.

  • 12/02/18: Training Call 1: 4-5pm EST – Overview & YMCA 101
  • 01/06/19: Training Call 2: 4-5pm EST – Structure of YMCA Advocacy
  • 02/03/19: Training Call 3: 4-5pm EST – YMCA Leg. Priorities & NAD Agenda


Youth Advocate Assignments & Resource Folder

As part of their preparation for YMCA National Advocacy Days, Youth Advocates are required to complete a series of assignments. To help complete your assignments, please use the materials available in our online resource folder:

Youth Advocate Resource Folder

Assignment 1: Youth Advocate Profile – Youth Advocate Profile Submission
Deadline: Thurs., January 3, 2019

  • The Youth Advocate Profile is a series of questions designed to help Youth Advocates learn as much as possible about their local YMCA (including a branch visit), as well as their Youth and Government program.
  • You can use the template available in the Resource Folder to help you complete your profile, but you must submit your responses using the form below:

Assignment 2: State Alliance Call – State Alliance Call Checklist
Deadline: Thurs., January 31, 2019

  • To ensure that Youth Advocates have connected and strategized with their State Alliances prior to National Advocacy Days, we ask that Youth and Government State Directors help schedule a call with their Youth Advocates and appropriate State Alliance representatives to review and respond to the items on the checklist linked above.
  • Please record your responses on the checklist itself (MS Word), or on a separate document during your call, as these responses will be used to complete your final assignment.

Assignment 3: Hill Meeting Action Plan – Hill Meeting Action Plan Template
Deadline: Thurs., February 28, 2019

  • To prepare for your Hill Meetings during Advocacy Days, each Youth Advocate will complete a Hill Meeting Action Plan that contain all information needed for meetings.
  • A key component of your action plan is the legislative priority you choose to advocate for during your meetings. Please use the 2019 Y-USA Legislative Priorities to select a priority for your action plan. If your state is sending two Youth Advocates, make sure you each choose separate priorities.


Youth Advocate Participant Forms

Participant forms will be emailed to all Youth Advocates once they have confirmed their participation. These forms are also available at the link below:

2019 Youth Advocate Participant Forms

These forms are required for participation in the Youth Advocate Program and must be completed and signed by each Youth Advocate and their parents/guardians.

  • Parent/Guardian Permission
  • Photo/Video Release
  • Medical
  • Travel
  • Youth Advocate Policies and Behaviors (Code of Conduct)

Important: Youth Advocates are not completely registered until these forms have been completed and submitted to Y-USA.


Youth Advocate Online Registration

In addition to your participant forms, there is an online registration process with payment is due at the time of registration. We encourage Youth Advocates to coordinate with their YMCA staff to complete this process.

  • $500 – This cost includes the registration fee, three hotel nights (4 students per room), and meals including: Monday dinner; Tuesday breakfast, lunch, dinner; Wednesday breakfast, lunch and dinner; and Thursday breakfast.
  • Youth Advocate online registration will be due TBA January 2019.

To register students for the Youth Advocates Program at National Advocacy Days 2019, please use the registration link below:

National Advocacy Days Online Registration

Please email with any Youth Advocate registration questions.


Staff Chaperones

While in DC, Youth and Government program staff serve as chaperones for our Youth Advocates, accompanying them for the duration of the program. Chaperones are responsible for leading family groups and facilitating Youth Advocate programming outside of the National Advocacy Days agenda.

It is not a requirement for Youth Advocates to be accompanied by a chaperone, but Youth and Government program staff who wish to participate in the Youth Advocate Program alongside their students (beginning on Sunday) are welcome to do so by registering as a Youth Advocate Chaperone.

During Hill Meetings, Youth Advocates will be accompanied by members of their state delegation which include state alliance staff, YMCA leadership (CEOs and/or Board Members), or YMCA staff. Parents/Guardians grant permission to these additional YMCA staff and volunteers when they sign the participant forms for their students.

  • Chaperone Cost TBA – This cost reflects the NAD early-bird registration rate plus an additional $125 charge to cover additional meals not associated with National Advocacy Days.
  • Chaperone Registration is due by the close of National Advocacy Days registration.

To register as a Chaperone for the Youth Advocates Program at National Advocacy Days, please use the NAD registration page:

National Advocacy Days Online Registration

Please email with any adult Chaperone registration questions.


Travel Itinerary

Youth Advocates traveling by themselves must fly into and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Please plan your flights as follows:

  • Arrival | Sunday, March 3, 2019
    Arrival Flights should arrive at DCA no later than 5:00pm ET
  • Departure | Wednesday, March 6, 2019
    Departing Flights should depart DCA after 5:00pm ET if/when possible

To help ensure that Youth Advocates travel safely, a travel itinerary must be provided by completing our online itinerary form

Travel Itinerary Form (Click Here)

Upon arrival, members of the Leadership Team will greet the Youth Advocates just outside the security checkpoint. Youth Advocates will receive a text message just before their scheduled arrival, and will be welcomed after passing through security by a staff person who will take them to pick up their luggage at baggage claim.

On the final day, Youth Advocates will assemble and travel together with their peers and the Leadership Team to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

Any students not traveling by plane should plan on arriving at the Renaissance Hotel by 5pm ET, where they will check in with a member of the Leadership Team. For departure, those not traveling by plane will be told where and when they should be picked up on the final day.


Hotel Accommodations

The program will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington, DC located at 999 9th Street NW Washington, D.C. 20001.

Youth Advocates do NOT to make their own hotel reservations; rooms will be reserved by the Y-USA Government Relations office. Hotel accommodations for the Youth Advocates are included in their registration fee.

Youth Advocates will be rooming with their peers (up to four students to a room). The Government Relations office will work to place students from the same state together, when gender permits. Male and female Youth Advocates will be placed in rooms on different floors.


Program Agenda

Youth Advocates will be expected to participate for the entirety of the program – Sunday, March 3 to Wednesday, March 6, 2019. The full agenda can be found at the link below:

2019 Youth Advocate Program Agenda

The overall Youth Advocate Program agenda aligns with the National Advocacy Days agenda and integrates students in National Advocacy Days for a full experience. In addition to the regular agenda, there will be specialty trainings and programming for Youth Advocates at various times throughout the week.


Hill Meetings

As part of the Youth Advocate experience, students will be able to participate in visits to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Mar. 4 and Wednesday, Mar. 5, along with members of their state’s YMCA delegation which may include State Alliance staff, YMCA leadership (CEOs and/or Board Members), or YMCA staff.

Y-USA strongly encourages Youth and Government program staff to coordinate with YMCA State Alliance representatives when scheduling these Hill Meetings.

If a state does not have a delegation attending National Advocacy Days, the Y-USA Government Relations office will help make arrangements to pair Youth Advocates with another delegation so that each delegate has a full experience while at National Advocacy Days.


Packing List & Dress Code

Please prepare to dress in business attire, with comfortable shoes. Most activities will require business attire, which is a suit or coat, dress shirt and tie for men, and dress or coordinated pantsuit with dress blouse/shirt for ladies.

Winter in Washington, DC is cold! Please pack warmly – for both your professional attire and your casual attire. Please be aware that you may be visiting with many influential leaders in prestigious locations, which require that we all have a business professional look.

  • Sunday, Mar. 3 – Casual Attire (All Day)
  • Monday, Mar. 4 – Casual Attire (AM) and Business Casual (PM)
  • Tuesday, Mar. 5 – Business Attire (All Day) and Business Casual (PM)
  • Wednesday, Mar. 6 – Business Attire (All Day)

For evening Youth Advocate programming, you may wish to change into Business Casual attire – clothes that are comfortable but look nice enough for you to represent the Y at National Advocacy Days. Please keep in mind that Y leaders may wish to participate in or observe portions of the evening programming, so it will be important to maintain a professional appearance and attitude.