Youth in Government

What is the purpose of the YMCA Youth in Government program?
Youth in Government, a national YMCA program, empowers students from every corner of the U.S. by giving them the opportunity to learn about—and experience—government policies and methodologies firsthand. This unique program is made up of thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government programs. Participants immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement, debate issues that affect citizens in their state and even propose legislation. The program culminates with teens serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature.

Youth in Government offers the opportunity for young people to:

  • Research local, state, and national issues of concern.
  • Analyze and organize information to propose change. 
  • Engage in dialogue with students across state and national locations. 
  • Skill building in communication, leadership, and community engagement. 

Idaho is a geographically, economically, and politically diverse state, it is important to prepare our future leaders to participate effectively in governing the state of Idaho.

“Democracy must be learned by each generation.”

Idaho’s YMCA Youth in Government is the second longest running conference in the United States. The first conference was held in 1936. 

The state is divided into four regions:

North Central

South Central

South East

South West

Each region holds a regional conference before the state conference to elect officials and appoint Supreme Court counsels to represent the region at the state conference. 

Each region has high schools or YMCA branch delegations.

Each school or YMCA branch holds monthly meetings to learn about the three branches of government and how each work to pass and enforce laws. 

All schools and YMCA branch delegations participate in a state conference running a model legislative session and Supreme Court. 

Idaho Youth Governors

Bill History

Idaho’s YMCA Youth in Government program is open to high school students (grades 7–12) in every community in Idaho. Youth delegations must represent either a school or YMCA group, the following Idaho schools currently have Youth in Government chapters:

  • Oakley High School
  • Blackfoot High School
  • Bear Lake High School
  • Leadore High School
  • Centennial High School
  • Caldwell High School
  • Borah High School
  • Capital High School
  • Kamiah High School
  • Grangeville High School

If your school does not have a chapter and you’re interested in getting involved, there are also chapters at the Downtown Boise YMCA and Caldwell YMCA.

Contact Sam Bellis at for more information.

2023 Elected Offices »
Regional Conference Youth Supreme Court Memo and Case »
Regional Conference Registration »
Risk Waiver and Code of Conduct Forms »

2023-2024 Youth in Government State Session, April 24 & 25

April 26 & 27, 2023
State Registration »

Submit Bills Here »
Legislative Schedule »
Youth Supreme Court Schedule »
State Session Bill Book »
Opening Ceremony Script »
Closing Ceremony Script »
House Script »
Senate Script »



Sam Bellis, Youth Experience and Innovation Director

Phone: 208 377 4886, ext. 208

Email us here!

2023-2024 Idaho Youth in Government State Committee Members

  • Hon. Judge Jessica Lorello
  • Hon. Justice Joel Horton
  • Hon. Judge Laurie Fortier
  • Phil Reberger 
  • Dr. Ross Burkhart
  • Cindy Wilson  
  • Cheryl Adams
  • Steve Messenger
  • Alyson Townsley
  • Megan Schultz

2023 Conference on National Affairs, July 1-6 2023:

The 2023 YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is being held at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The estimated cost of the entire trip is $1,500 per delegate (this includes conference fee, airfare, and ground transportation cost). Financial Assistance will be available for those who wish to apply, please reach out to the state director for more information. 

This program is proudly funded by: