HOBART | Eight Hobart High School students recently attended a Hobart Kiwanis Club meeting to present a program on the Indiana YMCA Youth and Government Conference in Indianapolis, which they participated in thanks in part to Kiwanis sponsorship.
The program begins each September with the recruitment of student delegates who attend an organizational meeting at the Hobart Family YMCA. They write legislative bills and cabinet position papers that are published in a bill book.
The conference itself is a three-day experiential learning event modeled after the state legislative session. Acting as senators and representatives, students write, debate, and vote on bills that affect them.
As candidates, pages, or members of media, students experience the full spectrum of activity that constitutes the political process. As advocates and justices, students argue and judge legal cases in the actual Indiana Supreme Court chambers.
Thirty teens from Hobart High School participated in the Youth and Government program this year. Each researched a topic that was important to them, wrote and proposed a bill for consideration by the house and senate.
"The conference offers students the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of issues, develop critical thinking skills, and articulate their beliefs while engaging constructively with those who hold like and opposing views," said Senior Program Director Sharon Tarry of the Hobart Family YMCA.
"Several of our teens were elected officers," Tarry added. She and Colin May, a teacher at Hobart High School, attended as advisers.
“It’s totally different from most extracurricular activities. It gives people the opportunity to grow in their public speaking skills while being surrounded by people they know, yet at the same time have a great time," said Marc Lind, a HHS junior who was elected lieutenant governor.
Daniel Cruz, a HHS senior who was elected governor this year commented, “INYaG has enabled me to define my character as a debater, as a leader, and as a person. I have learned a lot about servant leadership and how to use it to reach my goals, as well as help others reach their own goals."
Any high school student interested in participating is welcome to contact Tarry at (219) 942-2183, ext. 14 or firstname.lastname@example.org.