The summer before my freshmen year of high school, my school, just as many other high schools do, held a freshmen welcome day. We were given an opportunity to meet with our mentors, have lunch in the school cafeteria, and hear about all the curricular and extracurricular programs that our school had to offer. I knew I was interested in government, but at the time I was much more focused on the theatre department and the soccer team. My mentor, after I had mentioned my vague interest in government, immediately informed me that I HAD to join Youth in Government. I ended up taking her advice and signed up, and that is possibly the best decision I have made in high school.
The following March, I attended my first spring conference as a timid freshmen. I was unsure of where to go, what to say, and of what to do. Words cannot express the drastic difference between how I entered that conference and how I left it. I was given the privilege of learning what it meant to be a part of the MYIG family. At this first conference, and at every single one I have attended since then, I have learned to seek out new perspectives, grown as a student and as a person, and most importantly, found the courage to use my voice.
Attending MYIG for the past three years has been unparalleled to any other experience in high school. Students are given the opportunity to make new friends and reunite with old ones, debate prevalent and pressing issues on the floor of Michigan’s House of Representatives, and learn about the YMCA’s key values. This program helps instill a sense of pride in one’s state and one’s community.
The coming together of hundreds of high school students to learn about and to experience democracy first hand helps ensure that our generation will be prepared to defend it. In reflecting on the values and lessons passed on to me and to other Michiganders, I would recommend MYIG to every middle school and high school student in the state of Michigan. Knowing how influential this program and its leaders have been, and still are on me, I am overjoyed to be serving as the 2016-2017 early conference youth governor! I look forward to representing the youth of Michigan at the Governor’s Conference, the Conference on National Affairs (C.O.N.A.), and at MYIG conferences in the coming year.
As youth governor, I hope to increase involvement in MYIG, as well as work to find solutions to our state’s issues in an effort to prepare my generation to understand and participate in the government of the democratic republic that we are so fortunate to live in.
Rochester Adams High School
Michigan Youth Governor 2016-1017