Leaders are developed by doing, and the Wisconsin Youth in Government (YIG) program seeks to foster the next generation of thoughtful, committed, and active citizens. This program is open to all students in grades 7-12 and aims to enable young people to prepare for leadership through participatory training in the theory and practice of determining public policy.
Guided by the organization’s motto, “Democracy must be learned by each generation,” our program builds values-based leadership and civic engagement in Wisconsin’s youth in order to strengthen participation in our democracy. Our efforts build, strengthen, and encourage life assets and positive character traits. The hands-on program provides positive opportunities and experiences for youth. Participants strengthen their communities by becoming active and responsible contributors who are inspired to lead and are empowered to create meaningful change.
Through Youth In Government, you have the opportunity to:
► Let your voice be heard and get involved in the decision-making process
Wisconsin Youth in Government begins each fall and runs through the Model Government conference in the spring. All members of each delegation serve in one of three program areas: as student legislators in the assemblies or Senate, as justices in the Supreme Court, or as media personnel in the Press Corps. Delegates spend 3 months in their local delegations researching and writing model bills or preparing cases.
All the delegations from across the state come together twice each year. First, they meet for a Pre-Government Convention (Pre-Gov) in January. At Pre-Gov, delegates elect their leadership and rank all student-written bills in committee. The second all-state convention takes place in the spring. At this Model Government session in Madison, the delegates “take over” the state capitol building, using the assemblies and chambers to conduct their own program.
Bills, which were ranked at Pre-Gov, are presented and debated in the assemblies and Senate. If they pass two of three houses, they are signed or vetoed by the Youth Governor. Bill writing for Model Government is not just practice; bills signed by the Youth Governor are taken to the leadership of the Wisconsin Legislature. Bills first introduced at Model Government have gone further to become Wisconsin law.
Students in the Supreme Court rotate between serving as a justice and presenting cases. They are given the case information and informed of their position, either Respondent or Appellant. They write the brief for the case and then work on oral arguments.
The Press Corps students represent the media contingent. During the Model Government session, the conduct interviews, track legislation, and create content through their newspaper, blog, social media sites, and video.