YMCA Prepares the Next Generation of Inclusive Leaders through Youth in Government Program

  • Studies show that inclusion is better for business. Research by McKinsey shows that gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform their peers, and ethnically-diverse companies are 35 percent more likely.
  • In the digital age, today’s teens and young adults are accustomed to a more globalized world. More than 66 percent of today’s Generation Y workers believe they need international experience to further their career.
  • According to Pew Research Center, 43 percent of young adults in the U.S. today are non-white, the highest share of any generation, and about half of newborns are non-white. The Census Bureau projects that the full U.S. population will be majority non-white around 2043.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, prepares the next generation of thoughtful, inclusive leaders with the knowledge, experience and confidence to be successful in a global society though Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government.

Research by organizational scientists, psychologists and sociologists show that socially diverse groups, representing a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and viewpoints, are more innovative than homogeneous groups. Programs like Youth in Government foster understanding and empathy and help young leaders develop the skills to connect with people who hold different perspectives.

“YMCA Youth in Government develops the next generation of inclusive, engaged citizens and leaders,” said Orville Lindquist, state program executive for the Y. “In today’s world there’s often a lack of understanding about our differences. Youth in Government encourages young people to express themselves, but also to listen to others and engage in thoughtful conversations where everyone’s voice is respected.”

Lindquist explained that through Youth in Government, students meet peers from all over the state and region to discuss local, state, national and international issues. The emphasis is not on partisan politics, but instead, on considering all viewpoints to find solutions to common problems. The Y’s Youth in Government program offerings include:

  • Model Assembly is the state’s largest hands-on civics education event, with nearly 1,400 students in grades 8-12 gathering at the State Capitol to replicate the functions of state government. Students gain experience with the process of making or changing laws, trying court cases and creating open government.
  • Model United Nations brings together more than 700 students in grades 7-12 to represent nations around the world and practice compromise and diplomacy to solve global problems. 
  • YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs gathers more than 600 students from more than 30 states’ Youth in Government programs to discuss ideas that will change and improve the nation and the world.

See how Sabrina models the Y’s commitment to inclusion by ensuring everyone’s voice is heard – Youth in Government: Sabrina’s Story.

Discover how Lauryn has grown as a servant leader and listener – Youth in Government: Lauryn’s Story.

Learn how Model United Nations prepares young leaders to be engaged citizens and successful adults – Youth in Government: Model United Nations.

Youth in Government models the Y’s broader belief in inclusion and in intentionally creating spaces where all can learn, grow and thrive. Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all have the opportunity to participate, financial assistance is available to those in need. Learn more about Youth in Government.