What is MSML? 

South Carolina YMCA Youth in Government's Model Legislature (MSML) has been the state's premier youth leadership and civic development program for the past 13 years. MSML is a learn-by-doing experience that teaches the values of democracy by bringing together middle school students from across the state.

In the fall, middle school students are invited to participate in any or all of the following opportunities. None require school or teacher participation; instead, students participate individually:

  • Service Saturdays – one-day service opportunities in locations across the state. Some transportation available.
  • Virtual Town Halls – students are invited to participate in town halls with statewide elected officials and other outstanding adult leaders to discuss issues and ideas that are important to them.
  • CARE – Connect, Advocate, Reflect, Engage – a hybrid (virtual and/or in-person) program to teach students to take their passion and interest in improving our communities and learn how to become effective advocates and leaders. Program will be led by elected officials, adult subject-area experts, and mentors. Students will create projects that address their area of interest, and will compete for seed funding to implement the projects.

Middle School Model Legislature

The culmination of the Youth in Government program is the annual Model Legislature. This conference provides delegates an opportunity to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process as well as debate and discuss issues with their peers from throughout South Carolina. Over 500 middle school students participate in this three-day conference annually.

When and where is the conference held? 

The conference is held each year in Columbia, SC. In 2021, the conference will take place in the late spring, with dates TBD. Students meet in the Statehouse and use the administrative buildings on the Statehouse grounds. At night, all students conduct all activities at local conference hotels.  

What do delegates do at the Conference?

While at the conference, students participate in a simulation of South Carolina's democratic process. Acting as Senators and Representatives, students write, debate and vote on legislation. As candidates, students experience the rich spectrum of activity that constitutes our political process. As media delegates, students publish a newspaper. Officers elected by students serve as Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House.

How much is the conference?

The Youth in Government MSML conference is approximately $340/delegate. This includes all conference materials, hotel fees and two meals. Need-based scholarships are available. For the spring 2021 conference, schools and families may elect to put two, three, or four students per room. The cost will be adjusted accordingly.

How do students participate?

Students traditionally participate in the Youth in Government program through their school or another community group.

Middle School YIG Delegation    

Questions? Want to start a program at your school?

If you have questions, please contact Mary Capers Bledsoe at: mcbledsoe@ymcagreenville.org.

Here are the 2019 Awards! Congratulations to all award winners