YIG vs YAG photoSince the dawn of YMCA model government programs, a great debate has been going on, a debate that to this day is still just as heated as ever. Is it Youth in Government or Youth and Government? The answer might be simpler than you think.

Somehow one little word has been the source of much discourse throughout the program’s life, dividing delegates in a way that almost mirrors the divide playing out on the grand political stage of our own nation. Delegates are split almost down the middle with 40.5 percent of delegations opting for the use of YIG, 43.2 percent using YAG, and 16.3 percent opting for use of neither YIG nor YAG.

Those who use YAG claim: “I think it should be YAG, because ‘Youth in Government’ isn’t accurate as you can’t vote until you’re 18, therefore it’s not youth participating in the government.” Brittany Wrzesinski from the Washington delegation continued, “YAG is correct because in the program, youth are working in collaboration with the government.”

Alternatively, Seamus Mulready from the Michigan delegation, a strong supporter of YIG, had this to say, “I believe it should be YIG because a.) YAG rhymes with gag and b.) when you’re in the Youth in Government program you are in mock government.”

Despite the debate, there is a simple solution; all programs will change to YAG. A decades long debate is slowly drawing to a close as the YMCA of the USA is making a push for a universal change. It’s not for love or animosity towards one or the other, the change is meant to unify the brand of the YMCA’s youth model government program. The Delaware Youth in Government program is begrudgingly making the switch to Youth and Government in the coming years, its former director said. “To make branding easier, soon every state will make the switch to YAG,” he said. As passionate as people are about their respective names for their program, the YMCA of the USA has the final say, and their say is, YAG for all.

By Sarah Jones, DE