National Programs

Overview of National Programs

YMCA Youth and Government is a national movement of over 55,000 students participating in YMCA Youth and Government programs around the country.

Each year, representatives or delegations from each of our state programs have the opportunity to attend the following national programs and conferences. Learn more about how you can represent your state on the national stage.


YMCA Conference on National Affairs | CONA

Each summer, our state programs send delegations to participate at the YMCA Conference on National Affairs, or CONA. The weeklong conference is held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in North Carolina, and serves as the nationwide culmination for each of the YMCA Youth and Government programs around the country. The conference brings together the top students from each state to debate proposals on issues facing our nation and world.

Each state program has a unique process for choosing their CONA Delegations. If you are interested in representing your state at CONA, contact your state program to learn about their selection.


YMCA National Judicial Competition | NJC

This multi-day conference brings together YMCA Youth and Government participants from around the country to participate in Mock Trial and Appellate Court competitions.

Each state program has a unique process for choosing their NJC teams. If you are interested in representing your state at NJC, contact your state program to learn about their selection process.


YMCA National Youth Assembly

As the Y works to engage young people as active contributors and stakeholders in our organization and their communities around the country, our virtual National Youth Assembly serves as a platform for youth conversations across the nation.

Hosted by our YMCA Youth Governors and facilitated by youth leaders from around the country, our assembly sessions are youth-led discussions on themes that explore the personal/leadership development, challenges, and influence of young people.

Register to attend each session using the link on the National Youth Assembly page. There is no fee to participate, and your registration includes all annual sessions (Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring).


YMCA Youth Advocate Program

Each year, the YMCA of the USA hosts YMCA National Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. CEOs, staff, and volunteers from around the country gather to advocate for the YMCA’s Legislative Priorities by meeting with their members of Congress.

The Youth Advocate Program at YMCA National Advocacy Days is designed for high school YMCA teen program participants interested in advocating on behalf of the Y’s policy priorities in support of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Youth Advocates participate in Advocacy Days events as well as programming facilitated by Youth and Government staff. This programming introduces them to federal policymaking, Y-USA advocacy efforts, program alumni, public policy careers, and much more.

Students submit an application (opens each fall) to represent their state as part of the Youth Advocate Program at YMCA National Advocacy Days. To learn more about the application process, please contact Derek Summerville at


YMCA Youth Governors Association

The YMCA Youth Governors Association (YGA), modeled on the National Governors Association (NGA) brings together high school students who serve as the Governor or head Presiding Officer for their respective YMCA Youth and Government state programs.

Each state program sends their elected Youth Governor(s) to represent the state as members of the YGA. In some states with Model UN programs, the elected Secretaries General attend the conference as well. For states without a Youth and Government program, high school juniors can apply to serve as the Youth Governor of their state’s Youth Cabinet during their senior year.


YMCA Changemakers Project

The YMCA Changemakers Project is a grant-funded opportunity for high school students to propose a project that addresses a critical issue or need in their communities. Each Changemakers Project must be led by two (2) student Project Leaders. Additional students from your community are encourage to join the project (no limit on participants!), but only the two project leaders will register, submit the proposal, and represent the project if selected by your local YMCA.

YMCAs selected to receive funding are notified by Y-USA, and begin outreach to high school students in their communities to register as project leaders and submit a project proposal. Once the deadline for registration and proposal submission has passed, each Y will identify 1 project (2 project leaders) to represent their community and present their proposal during the final 3 days of the YMCA Youth Governors Conference.