MPHS students participate in YMCA’s Youth In Government program
December 18, 2016
On Sunday, November 20, nine Middle Park High School Students traveled to Denver to participate in a three-day Mock General Assembly as a part of the YMCA Youth In Government program. It is a national YMCA initiative that involves teenagers in more than 40 states.
Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves a mock-legislation process by writing bills, lobbying, debating, voting, networking and role-playing. They used the Colorado House Floor, Senate Chambers, and committee rooms at the State Capitol.
Nine MPHS students met every Thursday on their lunch breaks since September. Along with their chaperones (Kathy Mead and Matt Sullivan from Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies, and Jack Dugwyler from Middle Park High School) they gathered to discuss the branches and positions that make up the Colorado Government and prepared bills to present. The students learned about the positions and responsibilities of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Representatives, Senators, Judges, Attorneys, Lobbyists, Pages and Media. During the program each of the students had the opportunity to fulfill a role and carry out its functions.
In preparation for the legislative session, the MPHS students prepared two bills.
The first required easily identifiable labeling on all GMO food products in Colorado. This one was presented and debated in a Senate committee and died.
The second bill promoted gender wage equality to ensure equal pay and prevent salary discrepancies based on gender. This bill passed the House committee, House and Senate floor, and then moved on to the Youth Governor to be signed. This was an accomplishment these students should be proud of because more than 75 bills were presented throughout the session, but only seven were signed.
"Even better than observing, these students had the chance to really live in the legislative process," said Matt Sullivan, one of the chaperones for the group.
"They saw first-hand what is involved for a bill to get approved and I think it really changed their perspective."
More than 190 Colorado students came from many YMCA branch areas including Pueblo, Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand County for the event. In addition to the Capitol Building, meetings and presentations also took place at the Denver Consistory and the Legislation Services Building in downtown Denver.
This is the second year that Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies and Middle Park High School collaborated to bring students to this educational program.