The experience of a Youth and Government State Conference


Nikki Davern

State affairs participants eager to ask questions about a proposal.

Nikki Davern, writer, photographer

Last Thursday, LeeAnn Partin and I left school early to attend a state competition for Youth and Government, which is a program hosted by the YMCA designed to give middle schoolers and high schoolers the experience of participating in government.

There are many different sections you can participate in, such as judicial, legislative, and media. You can participate in mock trials as an attorney, judge, or witness, or create a bill to present to other members of Youth and Government’s “legislature.” Another popular section is the State Affairs Forum, where students present solutions to problems facing Texas and defend them, as well as question and debate others’ proposals.

Finally, there’s the media section, which gets to observe and report on all of these sections. That was the section LeeAnn and I were in, and we found it pretty fun to explore what different sections were doing. Because of that, I got a variety of photos showcasing each section so you can get an idea of what it’s like participating in a Youth and Government competition.

Court is in session for a mock trial in a real courtroom at the capitol.
A beautiful view of the Capitol, as seen from the ground floor.
LeeAnn Partin, 11, works on an article as part of her media assignment.
If you make it to state in the legislative section, you’ll get the chance to present bills and make arguments about them on the senate floor in the capitol, like what the students pictured here are doing.
State affairs participants eager to ask questions about a proposal.