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 Changemakers Institute

Virtual Nationwide | www.ymcayag.org/changemakers

The YMCA Changemakers Institute is a virtual summer program available to all high school students in grades 9-12, including incoming 9th grade students and graduating high school seniors. Institute participants will develop a Changemaker Initiative addressing an issue in their local communities as a member of one of our Changemaker Cohorts, support by staff facilitators and specialists in their policy area of interest.

How to Attend
Registration for the Institute opens each spring, and is available to all high school students around the country. Spaces are limited based on cohort size and availability, and are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

YMCA Conference on National Affairs | CONA

Black Mountain, NC (Virtual for 2021) www.ymcacona.org 

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.

How to Attend
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. If your state does not yet have a Youth and Government program, learn more about how you can attend CONA.

 

YMCA National Judicial Competition | NJC

Chicago, IL (Virtual for 2021) www.ymcayag.org/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.

How to Attend
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. If your state does not yet have a Youth and Government program, learn more about how you can attend NJC.

 

YMCA Youth Advocate Program

Washington, DC | www.ymcayag.org/yap

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.

How to Attend
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 derek.summerville@ymca.net.

 

YMCA Youth Governors Association

Nationwide | www.ymcayag.org/yga

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.

How to Join
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/rising seniors can apply to serve as the Youth Governor of their state’s Youth Cabinet.