YLA Youth in Government Overview

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

This is great! We get to be legislators sitting in the same seats and using the same facilities they use. I’ve learned more about civics and state government this way than from any book or classroom. We take what we learn in class and get to apply it. Some of the laws we propose have actually become state law. Judicial is great! We get to see how the judicial system works. I don’t want to be an attorney, but I need to understand the court.

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.

YLA 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
  • 8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars
  • 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: 2015-OHYG-7684-16545246024_f1ba8be8dc_k

  • 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.