WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- How many 17 year-olds do you know that have a bill pending legislation before our New York State legislators? The YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester has 10 of them.
Their recent journey through the mock legislative process ended with their bill concerning the drinking age passing with flying colors and it is now headed to the desks of our state legislators.
These 10 students are members of the YMCA Youth and Government program, a national YMCA program which offers teens the opportunity to get a first-hand look at their government on a state level. This program, the only Youth and Government Club in the county, teaches decision making, meeting deadlines, and being able to speak with confidence about subject matter for which the students have a passion. Students participate by creating bills to be submitted to the Model Legislature and research and practice court cases, teaching them about our government process through a “hands-on” experience.
The students travel to Albany to present their bills to other teens, debate on them, and have their bill passed or failed. Once a bill is passed through the teen legislation it ends up in a group of bills that will follow current pending legislation and may even become law in New York State.
The teens joined 550 teens from around the state and attended the 78th New York State YMCA Youth and Government Conference in early March. This is one of 38 state conferences which culminates in a Conference on National Affairs, which picks 20 students per state, and 20 as alternates. Kristin Sutton of White Plains High School was selected to represent New York and Nina Tucker of White Plains High School was selected as an alternate.
The other teenagers who presented the bill are Seth Jaffe, Ross VanDoren, Rizza Estacio, Olivia Powell, Lilah Schaeffer, Luke Saville, Matt Straub and Kyra Betheil.
The YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester has branches in White Plains, Somers and Camp Combe in Putnam Valley.
For more information about the YMCA, visit its website or contact 914 943 9898.
Anne C. Ring is the Director of Fund Development and Communications for the YMCA of Central and Northern Westchester.