Club Prepares Next Generation of Leaders

Excitedly highfiving, sophomore treasurer Ramya Nambala and sophomore Gauri Mishra congratulate each other on successful speeches in their practice during a Youth and Government Meeting. Nambala and Mishra spent weeks drafting and researching their bills to prepare for the District Conference on Nov. 16. “We learn self-efficacy, self-advocacy and have confidence in expressing ourselves through speech,” Nambala said. “It teaches us democratic leadership and helps us become better citizens.”

Raiyan Shaik, Reporter

The state of Texas is requiring year-round schooling for all public schools.  Luckily, it was only required in a bill created by sophomore Youth and Government club member, Kalyani Valath.

Youth and Government is a YMCA-run statewide civic education and leadership program, consisting of many government related activities. The program operates in the form of a club on campus and is in its third year. 

“Our goal is to create an environment in which students can increase their political awareness,” sophomore treasurer Ramya Nambala said. “They can increase their understanding while learning the meaning of social action through actual hands-on experience in government.”

Two major events the club participates in are the District Conference and the State Conference. The members are currently preparing for the District Conference on Nov. 16. 

“Both are wonderful ways to help today’s youth learn about American government,” Nambala said. “If the student demonstrates excellence in speaking skills, they can make it to Nationals, where talented youth from all over the world convene to debate.”

The members draft a bill, research the topic and debate on why it should or shouldn’t be passed.

“We work to develop advocacy skills for students on topics they are passionate about,” junior president Amod Daherkar said. “We draft bills on topics we are passionate about, to make a positive change in society.”

The activity relies heavily on speaking and researching skills, mimicking a real Congress legislative session. 

“We learn self-efficacy, self-advocacy and have confidence in expressing ourselves through speech,” Nambala said. “It teaches us democratic leadership and helps us become better citizens. I’ve personally learned how to advance my public speaking skills as well.”

While the club only prepares for the Legislative section, the program has a wide range of activities including Media, State Affairs, District Court and more. 

“The purpose of Youth and Government is to prepare young people for moral and political leadership in the American democratic process,” Nambala said. “We provide and help with guidance, training, and experience in the theory and practice of determining public policy on the state level. It is called ‘a laboratory in citizenship and government.’”

Youth and Government is funded by the Leander Educational Excellence Foundation, or LEEF, grant. The club received $500 in the spring for operations. 

“A club like Youth and Government is important for today’s youth in a day and age of growing tech access,” Daherkar said. “We are forgetting crucial face-to-face communication skills which are paramount to making the case for or against issues we feel passionately about.”

Meetings are held in Rm. 2501 on Mondays after school.

“This club can help you find your voice on issues you care about to a body of passionate and committed peers with ideas of their own,” Daherkar said. “It also works to successfully instill a common shared value of prioritizing current issues facing our society today and help promote a need for action.”


Share Button