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YMCA Youth and Government™ is a nationwide civic engagement and servant leadership program that provides students in high school with the opportunity to represent and serve their communities through model government, leadership and professional development, advocacy, and service-learning.

Y Youth and Government™, dates back to the late 1930s. It involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized model-government programs. In Youth and Government programs, teens from across the state meet in their local clubs throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and to propose possible legislation to make state government more efficient.


The program culminates with the teens serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature. As a result of the program, young people learn about the democratic system and are trained in parliamentary procedure, legislative committee process, debate, press relations, and lobbying techniques. Delegates learn by doing and have the opportunity to try their hand at leadership in an open and receptive learning environment.


Youth and Government collectively serves over 55,000 students through 42 state programs across the country, including Washington, DC.

Students can participate through a Youth and Government student organization at their school and/or through their local YMCA. These school-based or YMCA-based groups are led by student officers, and advised by school faculty, community volunteers, and/or YMCA staff.


Click here for a brief history of the YMCA Youth and Government program since its founding in the 1930s. 



Program Goal: To develop young men and women who will be better citizens by being both knowledgeable and active in determining the future of our democracy



  • To provide training and experience in understanding the legislative process

  • To develop critical thinking and analytical abilities

  • To provide active participation in the legislative process

  • To develop interpersonal communication skills

  • To provide awareness of social issues and their possible solutions

  • To provide opportunities to hear and respect varying viewpoints

  • To encourage active participation in political and public affairs



1. Leadership training

2. Public speaking and critical writing workshops

3. Community activism, civic engagement, and applying political leverage

4. Academic enhancement through the development of research, reading, and writing skills

​For more information, contact Oregon State Youth and Government Director, Marisa Fink at

Where can I join a YMCA Youth and Government program in Oregon?

Dayton High School, Dayton 

Sherwood High School, Sherwood 

West Salem High School, Salem 

West Albany High School, Albany

Corvallis High School, Corvallis
Tillamook High School, Tillamook

Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis 

Rogue Valley YMCA, Medford

Grants Pass YMCA, Grants Pass

YMCA of Douglas County, Roseburg

Lane County (Eugene area)

Gervais High School, Gervais


Delegations in planning:
(Click on the location to contact the organizers)

YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, Portland area

Lake Oswego HS, Lake Oswego

McNary High School, Salem


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2024-25 Youth Governor 
Kenneth "Cash" Yount 

Dayton High School

Youth Governor's Website


Governor Cash Yount

2024 Oregon National Youth Advocates:

Lauren Huber 
West Salem High School

Noah Wines (he/him)
West Albany High School

2023 Oregon National Youth Advocates:
Liam Gottlieb (he/him)

Corvallis High School

Sydney Moneke (she/her)
West Salem High School

Notable alumni of the Youth & Government program include:

  • South Bend Indiana Mayor Peter Buttigieg, Former Presidential Candidate

  • Oregon State Representative Paul Evans

  • Oregon State Senator Rob Wagner

  • Former Ohio U.S. Senator John Glenn

  • State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser

  • U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin

  • Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law Professor

  • Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

  • Congressman Dennis Ross, FL

  • Christa McAuliffe was a YAG advisor in NH before she was chosen to be on the Challenger

  • George H. Gallup (founder of Gallup Pollng) conducted some of his first state polls with NJ YAG delegates

YMCA Changemakers Institute

The YMCA Changemakers Institute is a nationwide 3-month virtual summer program available to all high school students in grades 9-12, including incoming 9th grade students and graduating high school seniors. Click here for more information.

As participants in the Changemakers Institute, students will take part in:

  • Virtual Advocacy Training

  • Networking & Professional Development

  • Mentoring Seminars with YMCA Alumni

  • Engaging Local, State, National, and International Policymakers

  • Emphasizing Equity & Inclusion in Making Change

  • Strengthening Socio-Emotional Skills

  • Developing an Online Presence, Branding, and Voice

  • Collaborative Cohorts to address Local Issues

  • Leading the Y’s Youth Advocate Network & Youth Voter Commitment

2024 Youth and Government Session 


More than 120 students participated in Oregon’s YMCA Youth and Government program this year.  85 took their seats in the virtual Oregon Capitol House and Senate Chambers and committee rooms at Willamette University on Thursday, February 22, Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24, 2024. They represented delegations from Oregon high schools and YMCAs, including Crescent Valley, Dayton, Sherwood, West Albany, Corvallis, Tillamook, West Salem, Grants Pass, and Eugene.

The program is an annual 3-day intensive educational experience unlike any other. It allows students to practice parliamentary procedure and actively participate in a mock legislative process. Working with volunteer advisors at their schools, delegates learn how to write bills, work in committee, and debate on the chamber floor. They serve as legislative officers and elect a youth governor. 

Measures were reviewed in committee and debated on the House and Senate floors before being signed or vetoed by the 2023 Youth Governor, Kylie Johnson, a junior from Sherwood High School.


Delegates Cassia Maciejewski and Trevor Tsui of Sherwood High School were recognized for their excellence in measure writing with the William T. “Doc” McLean Master Measure Award for HM208, related to student representation on school boards.


The team of Noah Wines and Hadley Huzefka of the West Albany delegation was recognized by the student-elected officers for their measure that preserves and/or enhances Natural Resources and demonstrates Oregonians’ creative problem-solving abilities. They received the Don Andrews Oregon Heritage Award.

James Applegate, of the Sherwood Delegation, and Noam Raich, of the Crescent Valley Delegation, were selected by their fellow delegates as the outstanding student legislators. They received the Wallace P. Carson Outstanding Senator and Representative Award,repectively,  recognizing excellence and outstanding behavior, modeling YMCA values both on and off the chamber floor, demonstrating leadership qualities, speaks to issues with clarity and passion, and encourages and guides others to participate in the legislative process.

The Eugene YMCA, making their first appearance with a YAG delegation, was honored as the Outstanding Delegation. 

Kenneth "Cash" Yount, of Dayton High School, was elected as the Youth Governor for 2024. ​

Mr. Tim King, the Advisor to the Sherwood Delegation, was honored with the Sarah McCusker Award for Outstanding Service to the Youth and Government Program. 


Special thanks to Reid Holcomb Photography. @rfhproductions2.0

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