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Since its inception in Pennsylvania in the mid-1940s, YMCA Youth & Government has grown from a simple program featuring only a Model Legislature and a Youth Governor, to a realistic and complex simulation of Pennsylvania state government, involving hundreds of young people every year. Participants can serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, and media members. The YMCA Model Convention is conducted almost entirely by students. The possibilities for discovery are virtually limitless.

While the primary goal of this program is the promotion of responsible citizenship, students come away from YMCA Youth & Government with much more than a greater knowledge of the inner-workings of government. Participants sharpen their leadership skills and improve their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities while they become more adept at debate and public speaking. Students build self-esteem as they learn that their ideas matter and they can make a difference in their world. Delegates meet their peers from around the state, form life-long friendships and learn to respect the views and opinions of others. As YMCA Youth & Government participants experience what it is like to run the state of Pennsylvania for a few days, they also learn a great deal about themselves - their abilities, interests, and responsibilities as citizens in a participatory democracy.

Program Deliverables

PA YMCA Youth & Government prides itself in providing quality educational and civic engagement programs that offer youth the following skills:

  • Leadership
  • Public Speaking
  • Research & Writing
  • Core Values & Teamwork
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Greater understanding of civic engagement and issues on statewide and national levels

Butler YMCA


Rose E. Schneider Family YMCA