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What is YIG?

The Youth in Government program helps to create the next generation of good citizens. Through our programs, we demystify local, state and national governmental systems so tomorrow's adults will know how to effect change within these systems. We expand horizons so young people will understand their role within a global society.

The program uses the service-learning model in the firm belief that leadership is developed by doing. High school students help provide leadership for our middle school programs, while college students -- alumni of the Youth in Government program -- provide leadership for our high school programming. All programs are guided and directed by committed adult volunteers and YMCA professional staff.

YIG scholarships are available! CLICK HERE TO APPLY!

If you are interested in starting a Youth in Government Program at your school, e-mail our Executive Director, Mary Capers Bledsoe at mcbledsoe@ymcagreenville.org.


2020/2021 PROGRAM UPDATES

Registration is open now for students at participating high schools and middle schools. This fall we will host a variety of programs, events, and trainings, all of which will include virtual and in-person options. New fall programs include Service Saturdays (locations statewide), YIG Town Halls with elected officials, and the CARE (Connect, Advocate, Reflect, Engage) program to teach participants how to take their passions and interest and learn from experts in the field how to become effective advocates.

Congratulations to the elected and appointed leadership for YIG 2020/2021! Click here to see our list of leaders. 

Election 2020: What would inspire YOU to vote? You made your voices heard! HERE ARE THE RESULTS!

Download YIG Candidate Surveys 2020

Need to complete an SC YMCA YIG Candidate Profile? Click here to fill out the form. 

2020 YIG High School Model Legislature Bill Submission Form 

 

DOWNLOAD 2020 YIG CASE RESOURCES HERE

 

Middle School Youth in Government

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.

REGISTER TO BE A MIDDLE SCHOOL YIG DELEGATE

High School Youth in Government

WHAT IS SC YIG? 

South Carolina YMCA Youth in Government is a year-round series of conferences, trainings, volunteer opportunities and other events. All program components help high school students learn to take their passion and enthusiasm for strengthening our state and nation by joining with other students through civic engagement and active democracy.

Fall Programs Include:

*Service Saturdays – one-day service projects across the state, guided and led by students, in partnership with organizations and groups in local communities.

* Elections and Convention – virtual town halls with YIG delegations and student candidates, culminating in hybrid in-person/virtual convention in December to nominate candidates to move into spring general elections.

* Pawleys Island Planning Conference – Dates and location TBD. Select group of students will gather to help set goals, make recommendations, and plan for 2020/2021 Youth in Government program.

* CARE – Connect, Advocate, Reflect, Engage – A hybrid program to connect delegates with adult elected officials, field experts, and mentors, to teach them to take their specific interests and passions and become effective advocates. Includes support to present individual projects, with the opportunity to receive seed funding to implement projects.

MODEL LEGISLATURE AND COURT

Model Legislature & Court Conference (ML&C) is the culmination of YIG participation. ML&C brings together students from across the state for a hands-on opportunity to experience democracy by creating a model state legislature and judicial system. The 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. More than 1,500 high school students participate in this three-day conference annually.

When and where is the conference held? 

The conference takes place in Columbia, SC. During the day, students are at the Statehouse, the Supreme Court, or other downtown conference spaces. At night, all activities are at conference hotels and/or other downtown conference spaces.  

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 and lobbyists, students experience the rich spectrum of activity that constitutes our political process. As media delegates, students create and publish a nightly newspaper. As attorneys and justices, students compete on mock trial teams, or on moot court teams (appellate). Officers elected by students serve as Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Secretary of Education and Comptroller General. 

How much is the conference?

The Youth in Government ML&C conference is approximately $445/delegate. This includes all conference materials, all fall activities except the Pawleys Planning Conference, hotel fees, and transportation at the conference. Need-based scholarships are available. NOTE: For the Spring 2021 YIG conference, schools/delegates will have the option of putting two, three, or four students per room, with the hotel fees adjusted accordingly.

How do students participate?

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

REGISTER TO BE A HIGH SCHOOL YIG DELEGATE

Election Information

Elections

The 2020/2021 election season will include candidate virtual town halls in October and November with individual YIG school delegations. In December, select delegates from schools will participate in a hybrid convention to select the candidates who will continue in the spring General Election. Candidates who move to the general election will be given $150 provided by SC YIG to spend on their campaigns. No personal our outside spending or donations beyond that are allowed.

Email Mary Capers Bledsoe for more information. 

YIG Service Committee

*NEW* Apply here to be part of the YIG Service Committee! Members will help plan and implement new Service Saturdays across the state.   

YIG SERVICE COMMITTEE APPLICATION

Support Our Annual Campaign
Support our Annual Campaign! 
  • If you are a senior, we ask that you give to be a part of the Class of 2020 Legacy. If you give $20.20, you will get a YIG pop socket. If you give $120.20, you will get a YIG Nalgene. 
  • If you are a YIG alum who gives $150 or more, you will receive either a YIG Nalgene or a YIG Bucket Hat. 
  • All donors will be listed on our website, on our social media, and in our Program Guide! 
Join Our Alumni Network

Are you a YIG alumnus? Join our network to continue to be part of our work.

JOIN ALUMNI NETWORK

THANK YOU TO OUR TEEN SERVICES DONORS

Thank you to our donors, without whom we would not be able to do fulfill our mission of not turning anyone away for a lack of ability to pay. Our donors help support our Youth in Government Scholarship Campaign and the Achievers program. 

If you are interested in donating to our programs, you can donate here! 

We asked some of our donors to share with us why they give - read their stories to learn more about our donors! 

"I support the Y and South Carolina Youth in Government because I am constantly in awe of the amazing things that YIG students are already doing. Encouraging and supporting space for them to grow and expand their ideas is exciting! I can't wait to see what these students continue to do throughout their lives." ~Katie Jane Farmer, YIG donor, alum, and volunteer 

Current Donors 

Friend of Teens: $1 - $149 

  • Martha Bordogna 
  • Dorothy Campbell (℅ 2020 Legacy Fund) 
  • Meby Carr 
  • Dr. Frank Clark & Jennifer Clark 
  • Kathryn Freedman 
  • Leslie LaRue 
  • Rachel Miller 
  • Jenna Robinson 
  • Ana Parra
  • Haley Pruitt 
  • Gabriel Shawan 
  • Helen Vanvick 
  • Gabriel Shawan
  • Isabella Sheridan (℅ 2020 Legacy Fund) 
  • Madison Shirley 

Partner of Teens: $150 - $249 

  • Justin Brown 
  • Shaniece Criss 
  • Kathryn Markowitz

Advocate for Teens: $250 - $499 

  • Eleanor Bleeker
  • Dameyune & Neke Craig 
  • Chrissy Krampert 
  • Leonard Kupersmith 
  • Megha Lal 
  • Robert McGaughey 
  • Michelle Rash 
  • Bob & Gena Runnion 
  • Ian Rutledge 
  • George Rutledge 
  • Gary Schlansker 
  • Fred & Trivenia Sharp 
  • Hillary Spencer 
  • Melissa Sorrell 

Sponsor of Teens: $500 - $999 

  • Sallie Austin 
  • Stephen Edgerton 
  • Susan Ellis 
  • Katie Jane & Matt Farmer 
  • Stacey Gardin 
  • David Haskins 
  • Adrienne Lemon 
  • Kristen Maurer 
  • Kate Weaver Patterson
  • Jessica Sharp  
  • John Supra 
  • Katrina Way 
  • Mary Katherine Wyeth 

Chairman’s Round Table: $1,000 - $2,499 

  • Adam & Kent Brannon 
  • Mary Capers Bledsoe
  • Daniel Cohn 
  • Quentin James 
  • Crawford Long 
  • Chris and Melissa Sorrell 
  • Benjamin Street 

Thank you to our wonderful donors!