Sponsored by YMCA of the USA’s Government Relations office, this four-month program – culminating at YMCA National Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. – creates opportunities for high school students to gain practical, real-world experience advocating for policy solutions that help Ys address critical social issues in our three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.
As a part of the Youth Advocate Program, participants will:
Watch our program spotlight to learn more about the experience in DC , then click below to see the states and Ys represented by our current cohort of Youth Advocates:
For more information about the Youth Advocate Program, please email Derek Summerville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for the Youth Advocate Program open each fall. Up to 2 high school students per state will be selected from across the country to participate:
Interested students should consider the following criteria before applying:
The fee to participate in the Youth Advocate Program is up to $300, with the final amount to be determined based on philanthropic support. This program fee includes:
This fee does not include transportation costs to/from DC. However, Y-USA will offer limited travel scholarships to Youth Advocates who need it (i.e. those who reside in hard to reach areas or areas not close to a transportation hub). Youth Advocates also work with their local Ys and YMCA State Alliances to partially or fully cover their fees and transportation.
If you have any questions about program fees/cost, please reach out to email@example.com.
To ensure the safety of all participants, Youth Advocates and Chaperones will be required to present one of the following upon arrival at YMCA National Advocacy Days in DC:
Note: If public health conditions necessitate, Y-USA may require all attendees to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test regardless of vaccination status.
No personal health information, vaccination records, or test results will be recorded or stored by YMCA of the USA during this process – only verification that the participant provided one of the two required forms of documentation at check-in.
To ensure that all Youth Advocates are as prepared as possible for their role at National Advocacy Days, all participants are required to attend four virtual training sessions. Additional information will be shared in advance of each session:
As part of their training, Youth Advocates also complete a series of assignments:
1. Community Profile
Designed to help Youth Advocates learn as much as possible about their local community and YMCA, including a visit (virtual or in-person) and interview with the branch executive or program director.
2. Peer Interview
Youth Advocates will be paired to interview each other about their Community Profiles, helping them understand the breadth and depth of YMCA programs and services nationally, and how Ys in other states may differ or be similar.
3. Advocacy Plan
Completed in collaboration with their State YMCA Alliances, this plan brings together everything Youth Advocates will need to be successful during their Hill Meetings at Advocacy Days, including their Y story, their selected legislative priority, list and schedule of confirmed/planned meetings, and next steps for continued advocacy in their states/communities.