Program Overview

YMCA Youth & Government is a nationwide civic program that prepares high school students for moral and political leadership.

The YMCA DC Youth & Government program empowers youth to become ethical leaders and responsible citizens through training in the theory and practice of making public policy. Over the course of a school year, more than 300 high school students from across the metropolitan Washington area learn invaluable skills that they can use to improve their communities for years to come.

YMCA Youth and Government brings the workings of local government alive for students. Through this program, the YMCA creates a unique opportunity for students across the District of Columbia to discuss the issues relevant to them and their communities and work together to form a solution. Delegates in Youth and Government learn to listen to their peers to discover new ways of looking at complex problems. Throughout the school year, participants immerse themselves in civic engagement and learn through their local club delegation which culminates at the model-government legislative weekend conference.

There are many diverse ways to participate in Youth and Government. A majority of delegates will participate in the Legislative Branch, joining either the City Council or the Board of Education. Delegates also have the choice to join our Press Corps. By application only, delegates may choose to participate in the Media or as a member of the Mayor’s Cabinet.

How can YOU get involved?


The YMCA DC Youth & Government program is open to all high school students in the metropolitan Washington area. Through the program, students act as a mayor, council members, board of education members, committee members, and the press. Serving in these roles, students debate and pass laws that they think can solve problems in the District of Columbia. To join or start a delegation, please contact program staff.

Delegation Advisors

The YMCA DC Youth & Government program is comprised of multiple delegations. These delegations include high schools, YMCAs, and local civic organizations. Each club is mentored by a Delegation Advisor who is affiliated with the sponsoring school, civic organization, or YMCA branch.


The YMCA DC Youth & Government program relies on more than 30 volunteers each year to ensure the smooth operation of the program. Volunteers are the backbone of our program. Their time and talent help us to fulfill our mission of empowering our youth to become ethical leaders and responsible citizens. Please consider volunteering today!


The YMCA DC Youth & Government program has touched the lives of thousands of students since its founding in 2002. Many alumni decide to volunteer with delegations or at the annual conferences. Other alumni support the program with financial donations so that current and future students have the opportunity to participate in the program.