By Akayla Mazza, Model UN

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the YMCA’s Youth in Government program, and the 43rd anniversary of the Conference on National Affairs. To celebrate this, Florida adviser Derek Summerville took a trip to the YMCA archives in Minneapolis to do some research.

“I felt that what we had was 40 individual stories, but no national story, and that’s what I set out to do.” he said. While Youth in Government was created in 1936, the first national conference was not held until 1944, at Princeton University. The first Youth Governor’s conference occurred in 1949, but the first CONA conference as we know it today was not held until 1968. With more than a half a million participants nationwide in the Youth In Government program, it truly does allow one the “opportunity to experience the true meaning of the word citizenship” as Clement Duran, one of the founders of the program puts it. The first state to have a Youth in Government program was New York in 1936, and the most recent was Washington, D.C., in 2001. There are still four states that are yet to have a YIG program: Utah, South Dakota, Alaska, and Vermont. All of this information and much more are available at the table next to the Wired Bear 2.0 in Lee Hall during all afternoon and evening sessions.  Summerville hopes that “all of this information will be available in a book soon” and encourages everyone to view his exhibit and to e-mail yighistory@gmail.com with any additional information or questions.

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