National Youth Advisory Council

The Y-USA Youth Advisory Council is made up of 20 young people ages 15-24 from across the country to advise and support Y-USA’s senior leadership and national board on emerging issues, opportunities, programs, priorities, and strategic decision-making to help the Y remain relevant at the local, state, national and global level.

Council members will represent their home communities, local YMCAs, and the full spectrum of the Y’s youth development and engagement programs, strategies, and opportunities.

To apply, or find out more information about the council, please visit the website. 

Applications are due March 31st, 2023.

Conference on National Affairs

The Conference on National Affairs is held annually at YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina and was established in 1967 with Virginia attending its first conference. Students from across the nation gather at this conference to debate issues of national and international importance. Each student brings a proposal to discuss in committee during the week-long process. Virginia typically brings a group of 10-20 students to represent the Commonwealth, and these students are selected by a committee at the Model General Assembly.

Changemakers Institute

The YMCA of the USA is calling on high school students (grades 9-12) in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico to propose a YMCA Changemakers Project that addresses a critical issue or need in their communities. Each Changemakers Project must be led by two (2) student Project Leaders. Additional students from your community are encouraged to support the project as needed, but only two students can apply as leaders.

Applications are due April 7th, 2023.

You can find the application and more information about the program by visiting the website. 

Youth Advocate Program / National Advocacy Days

Sponsored by YMCA of the USA’s Government Relations office, this four-month program – culminating at YMCA National Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. – creates opportunities for high school students to gain practical, real-world experience advocating for policy solution that help Ys address critical social issues in our three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

The 2023 Youth Advocate Program at YMCA National Advocacy Days* will take place February 12-15, 2023. Registration is due October 14, 2022.

The Y and Civic Health

Advancing “civic health” – how communities are organized to define and address public issues – requires inclusion of youth voices. The Y’s civic health strategy invests in our work to empower young people – not just as program participants, but as active contributors and stakeholders in decision-making within our organization and civic institutions.
The Y will pave the way for young people to improve the civic health of their communities by cultivating partnerships, expanding youth advocacy, engaging youth voice in leadership and governance, and ensuring equitable access and participation in our youth civic engagement programs
There are opportunities for advisors, high school, and college students to advance civic health with the Y and our partner, the National Conference on Citizenship

Youth Advocate Network

The YMCA’s national government relations office has created a network and research center for youth. The network provides many resources to aid students in advocacy, conducting legislative research, and participating in civic programs. The Youth Research Center provides students with tools for researching state officials, legislation, communities and writing bills. There are many more opportunities and tools available for students in the network to aid in civic education. This free service is available to you by clicking the link below.

Power the Polls

The YMCA has partnered with Power the Polls, a national nonpartisan effort to help recruit election workers across the country. In 2020, America faced a record shortage of poll workers, and over 700,000 people stepped up via Power the Polls to help address that challenge. In 2022, we’re already seeing the need for more poll workers. Our democracy depends on ordinary people who make sure every election runs smoothly and everyone’s vote is counted. You can make sure we have safe, fair, and efficient elections for all: step up and become a poll worker in your community this year.
The YMCA is focusing on recruitment with Youth and Government. To begin helping your community, register at the link below.