The Ventura Family YMCA Youth & Government team introduced and debated three mock bills on Nov. 28 at the California Court of Appeals. The bill hearing night is part of their preparation for the 69th Model Legislature & Court conference held in February in Sacramento, which brings together more than 3,500 youth from across the state.
The 24 student delegates from Ventura presented three mock bills to a panel of local judges, an attorney, and a commander. The panel provided the students with feedback to help the delegates refine their final bill for the state conference.
The Youth & Government program offered at YMCAs — including the Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Stuart C. Gildred, and Ventura branches of the Channel Islands YMCA — gives students a chance to learn about California’s legislative and judicial processes by writing bills, preparing briefs, and governmental role-play (lobbying, running for office, debating bills, voting on legislation).
As a delegation, youth create bills about pertinent issues, research and practice court cases, develop public speaking and networking skills, and attend three annual Model Legislature & Court conferences. The youth meeting weekly for six months in preparation for the final Model Legislature & Court conference.
California YMCA Youth & Government’s Model Legislature & Court (MLC) has been the State’s premier youth leadership and civic development program since 1948. This program provides teens with the opportunity to experience the government first-hand through a specialized “youth-run, youth-led” model.
Established in 1887, the Channel Islands YMCA is a charitable organization of seven YMCA branches serving Santa Barbara and Ventura counties including: Camarillo Family YMCA, Lompoc Family YMCA, Montecito Family YMCA, Santa Barbara Family YMCA, Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA in Santa Ynez, Ventura Family YMCA, and Youth and Family Services YMCA which operates Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, the St. George Family Youth Center and My Home.
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Channel Islands YMCA serves over 46,000 individuals and provides over $1.3 million in financial assistance to families in need for child care, YMCA memberships, away and day camps, youth sports, and teen after-school programs. For more information at the Ventura Family YMCA, visit http://www.ciymca.org/ventura/ or call 642-2131.