I write stories about this every couple years. Last time, we asked our readers to sort out a list of bills that were introduced by the Youth Legislature and their Adult counterparts.
It’s not as easy as you might think.
Check out the list of alumni, further down in the news release.
Janelle Nesbit, Executive Director,
YMCA Youth & Government
T: (360) 357-3475
Teens Planning Take Over of Capitol
YMCA Youth & Government Presents the 61st session of the Youth Legislature
OLYMPIA, Wa. – After the gavel smashes in Olympia next week, it will be the state’s teenagers, not elected officials, cutting deals in the halls of the state legislature. The regular session has adjourned and a new generation of leaders is moving in; the YMCA’s 61st Youth Legislature.
More than 425 teenagers from 30 school and youth delegations across Washington will descend upon the state capitol from April 30th-May 3rd proposing bills in House and Senate Chambers, debating current issues, and passing legislation that will become permanent record. Youth Legislature is part of the YMCA’s Youth & Government Program.
"Youth Legislature teaches teenagers about our legislative practices and how to make it their own," said Erik Ashida, the YMCA’s 61st Youth Governor and a senior at Lakeside High School in Seattle, Wa. "It’s a high energy, fast paced environment designed to teach students about our country’s democratic traditions in a fun and dynamic way."
Youth & Government participants research public policy issues, write bills and practice public speaking all year in preparation for this immersion experience in politics. Approximately 375 bills will be introduced this session. These include serious topics such as, improving the curriculum in Washington schools, the war in Iraq, restructuring the election process, and some with a much lighter fare like introducing the Salmon Spawning Dance as the official state dance and making it mandatory that all elected officials pass the WASL prior to their being able to announce their candidacy for office. By the end of day four, hundreds of bills will have been debated, many will be signed into youth law, a heated election process will produce a new governor and executive staff, and all will go away with a stronger appreciation of state politics and current issues.
Notable alumni of YMCA Youth & Government include: Senator Betti Sheldon, Washington State Senate (retired); Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics 1996, Professor at Stanford University; H. Stuart Elway, Elway Research; Pam Curtis Bjornsen, Pam Curtis & Associates Consulting, OHSU Center for Evidence Based Research; Jim Bricker, Government Affairs, PEMCO Financial Services; The Honorable Robert F. Utter, Supreme Court Justice (retired); Mike Egan, Director External Corporate Affairs, Microsoft; The Honorable Daniel J. Berschauer, Thurston County Superior Court; Jeanne Cushman, Attorney, Partner CushmanGale, LLC; Patrick McDonald, Assistant to Washington State Secretary of State; Susan West, Reporter, Fox News 13, Mark Tabbutt, President, SaltChuk Resources; Bob Wolfe, Managing Partner, Northwest Venture Associates; Dave Quall, Washington State House of Representatives, Chair Education Committee; and Mike Armstrong, Washington State House of Representatives.
About YMCA Youth & Government
For over 61 years, Washington YMCA Youth & Government has been helping young people experience democracy in action through two highly successful programs: Youth Legislature and Mock Trial. Each year over 1,000 teenagers gain a deep understanding of our democratic traditions, their importance, and how to sustain them by their active participation in these Youth & Government programs.
About Youth Legislature
Founded in 1947, the YMCA Youth Legislature provides students the opportunity to experience the democratic process firsthand. Throughout the year, participants learn how to research public policy issues, write real legislation, practice public speaking and debating skills, and work together to achieve a goal. Assuming the roles of Senator, Representative, Lobbyist, and Press, the Youth Legislature meets in a four-day legislative session presided over by their statewide elected youth officials, including a Governor, Secretary of State, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House.
TVW, the statewide cable TV network that televises the Washington State Legislature and State Supreme Court, will provide LIVE television coverage of the YMCA Youth Legislature and show repeat coverage following the event. For those without cable TV, the youth legislature can be viewed LIVE in web video at www.tvw.org, as well as on-demand after the event.
For more information about YMCA Youth & Government, please visit www.youthandgovernment.org.