YLA Programs Overview

YLA Chapters

YLA Chapters are Next Generation Laboratories where teens figure out how to make their schools and community better, plan how to turn ideas into action, step up to make differences for good, and then take time to review what’s accomplished and how to do better the next time.

Model United Nations

YLA Model United Nations opens windows on the world and international perspectives as teens represent nations working to solve international issues.2015 Model UN

Model United Nations is good for –

  • those who are already informed on world issues and for those who are just getting started
  • those who are comfortable meeting new friends and those who are not and are ready to give it a try
  • those who are used to being away from home and for those who will be away from home for the first time.

Our Model United Nations program culminates in a three day experience at Mineral Wells, WV, offering windows on the world and international perspectives as teens represent nations trying to solve international issues.


Ohio and West Virginia Youth in Government

2015 Ohio YGWhere else do teenagers get to “take over” the state capitol for three days?

The YLA Youth in Government program engages Ohio and West Virginia teens in a process of civic leadership development. Teens identify the kind of school and community they want, create and carry out volunteer initiatives to achieve their vision, and plan to strengthen future action. Out of real life experience, teens craft legislation for YLA’s Youth in Government.

This approach develops life-long engaged citizens. It is a process. Youth engage in real life issues, learn and develop their responses thru volunteer action that informs the legislation presented at Youth in Government. YG is not about numbers, not the legislative ideas of adults, and not the public policy agenda of any adult trade association. YG is about creating life-long good citizens of our communities.

YG Program Components – Transformational Experiences, not an event2015 WV YG

  • YLA local youth civic leadership groups
  • YLA leadership conferences
  • YLA Leadership-Service Summit each June at Horseshoe Leadership Center in WV. Once fully operational, OH-WV YLA’s new Ohio Cave Lake Center for Community Leadership will host teen Summits for Ohio youth and teens from other states
  • Ohio Youth in Government
  • West Virginia Youth in Government
  • Model United Nations

Legislation first proposed in Youth in Government now is seen in more than three hundred actual laws in our states including those that:

  • Require signal lights at railroad crossings
  • Reclaim strip mined land
  • Hold 18 year olds responsible for contracts they sign
  • Create the white line on the side of the road
  • Establish “right turn on red”
  • Establish Special Education
  • Provide for driver’s education
  • Promote campaign finance reform
  • Provide for medical malpractice reform

A significant accomplishment of YLA and Youth in Government is the July 1, 1971, ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States granting the vote to 18 year olds.


8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars

8th graders are introduced to state government by observing and interacting with state leaders during the legislative session.2015 8th Grade YGS

The YLA Youth & Government Seminars are an annual cooperative effort of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Youth Leadership Association. The program brings WV eighth grade students from all sections of the state to Charleston, WV, for three days while the Legislature is in session. The Youth & Government Seminars provide an opportunity for eighth grade students throughout the state to learn more about state government by observing it and interacting with its leaders.


Horseshoe Summer Experiences

Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps for the United States Forest Service, the State YMCA of West Virginia (now the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association) opened Camp Horseshoe in 1940 and has operated it since. Today, just as it has since that opening, the Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association maintains Horseshoe’s guiding principles of creating community with everything directed to helping youth and adults strengthen their homes, schools and communities by becoming . . .

  • more responsible for their own lives
  • better motivated, prepared and committed to lead and to serve
  • action oriented, and
  • more responsible citizens of the community

2015 Ent. SummitHorseshoe’s Teen Entrepreneurship Summits are fun, friends, learning, and produce results! Discover the principles of entrepreneurship, civic leadership and volunteer service in six days of fun interactive learning. Meet business persons and successful entrepreneurs, make connections and discover new possibilities for your future.

During Horseshoe’s Leadership Summits you will:

  • Discover your potential.2015 SR Leadership Summit
  • Welcome new experiences – chart your future – bring new enthusiasm and in the process discover all you can be and all you can offer.
  • Learn the basics of successful youth groups.
  • Make your youth group the best it can be when you return home!

Governor’s Youth Opportunity Camps help low income boys and girls choose positive activities, attitudes and goals. YOC helps children improve social skills and 2015 YOCconfidence, build self-control, learn to better relate to others and find hope for a better future. YOC promotes healthy lifestyles by teaching good personal hygiene, physical and mental activity, good nutrition and school success. Children thrive in Horseshoe’s guided atmosphere of purpose, positive role models, caring expectation, learning and constructive character building activities. The residential experience of family and community is Horseshoe’s distinctive difference in the lives of children.

Horseshoe’s Adventure Camp for 7 – 12 year olds is fun and much more! It’s a good time with a purpose! Horseshoe is often a child’s first major step toward becoming an individual and developing social skills with their own peer group. There is no better way for children to learn about themselves and others, expand their horizons, learn to share and get along with others, develop a positive self-image, and have fun! We believe in camping, and hope each child will have the chance to experience this vital part of growing up.


Fall Conference

Three days of active leadership skill building with peers from other places and experiences.2014 Fall Conference

A YLA chapter’s new program year gets off to a successful start as teens and advisors gather for a great weekend of just good fun, friends and learning. Team building, communication, meeting new friends are all a part of the weekend as are sessions on program, service-learning, finance, governance, building membership organizing for success. Youth in Government and Model United Nations sessions prepare everyone to involve their YLA group in these quality programs.