By Patricia McClure, home educator and Youth in Government advisor
Editor’s Note: As the FL home education lobbying organization, HEF understands first-hand the importance of knowing about and being involved in the political process. Our newsletter will regularly feature FL home educators and the many ways they learn about and participate in government.
“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than a generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.” President Ronald Reagan
Whether conservative or liberal, republican or democrat, we can all learn something from President Reagan’s quote. As a homeschool mother it is also a mandate; how do I teach my child democracy and equip them to defend freedom? For 15 years I have found one great answer: Florida’s YMCA Youth in Government program, whose motto is: “Democracy must be learned by each generation”.
The program’s goal is to instill servant leadership qualities in 6th-12th grade delegates while teaching them the democratic process. Youth In Government offers students experiences that build character and leadership skills in an environment that abides by the YMCA’s four core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.
Youth In Government gives students an opportunity to find their voice and then use it. The program not only strengthens the individual; it also strengthens our nation by ensuring the lessons and the importance of democracy are learned by the next generation.
The Youth in Government student delegates can participate in several program areas including:
Legislative: Writing bills, debating bills, presenting amendments and defending beliefs.
Executive: Campaigning for cabinet positions including Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Commissioner of Agriculture and others while setting agenda initiatives.
Judicial: Youth Lawyers, law firms and justices write briefs, argue cases and render legal judgments.
Lobby Firms: Youth lobbyist use accurate and current information to help strengthen the debate and get pieces of legislation passed.
Press: Youth press delegates take video, interview delegates and write articles based on the news of the day.
All of this hard work culminates in a three day intense and “real life experience” at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. This is where all of the state’s Youth in Government clubs gather to put democracy into action.
If you would like to find out more about the Florida Youth in Government program visit their website at www.floridayig.net. If you would like more information on starting a Home Education Youth in Government club, please contact Patricia McClure @ email@example.com.