Ventura Family YMCA Youth & Government Program gives insight into the skills gap

Ventura YMCA Youth & Government teens posing in front of the California State Capitol Building.

The Ventura Family YMCA is paving the way for the leaders of tomorrow through its Youth & Government program.  Since 1948 this nationwide initiative has been the top youth leadership and development program for 9th through 12th grade high school students.  Through hands on experience, each participant is enlightened on how the U.S. government is run.  They review the passing of government bills, practice public speaking and case work, and they even travel to Sacramento to put all of their skills into practice at the California state capitol building.

This program is unique because of the impact from the Y’s leadership staff and the knowledge each participant gains. There is also fundraising in place to provide scholarships (while they last) for students who may not be able to afford the program otherwise, giving those students an educational advantage like no other.

“We want to make sure that everyone in our community has the equal opportunity to better themselves, and one example of us helping is through our Youth & Government leadership program or by raising money to provide scholarships so that those who would not be able to attend because of the cost, may do so,” says Alicia Cattoni, the Y’s Marketing and Communications Director.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate for the U.S. is 5.3%.  To help teens in the community prepare for the future, the Y is providing teens with experiences that will set them apart from others. The importance of job relevant experiences when searching for employment is so crucial that some studies suggest the 70-20-10 Development Rule where a job is broken down into percentages. The 10% is formal training, 20% is relationships and feedback, while 70% is on-the-job experiences.

The Y’s Youth Programs Coordinator, Sherry Gutsch, speaks about the importance of nurturing our youth to become future leaders, “There are very few places and even fewer opportunities for high school teens to gain the job specific experiences they learn in our Y&G program. We are doing what we can to set them up as our future leaders.”

Youth & Government is currently running now until February and includes weekly meetings, two training weekends in Fresno and a 5-day trip to Sacramento.  The deadline to register is October 2nd and scholarships are available, while the funds last!

The Ventura Family YMCA is located at 3760 Telegraph Rd. Log on to for more information about the Y.



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