The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles Teens & Government (T&G) program is a citywide teen educational program involving more than 1,000 high school students, in a six-month "hands on” experience that teaches the values of democracy.  T&G creates citizen leaders from a cross-section of the City’s high school population and providing them with the opportunity to experience government first hand and to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process. 

Since its inception, the program has used a variety of activities to build, encourage and strengthen the character traits that will help high school students become involved, responsible adults who are respected citizens. The tool used is a high-quality experiential and educational simulation based upon Los Angeles’ City government. The program is comprehensive, and its impact on the youth participants is dramatic. 

Participants develop an attitude of self-help and self-confidence for their personal futures. 


The program begins in the fall as young people and 300 volunteers at 30 locations throughout the city, meet as individual delegations to discuss issues facing Los Angeles as well as ways to implement their solutions through the legislative and judicial processes. During a six-month period, the teen delegates write measures and proposals, prepare briefs, and select governmental positions to role-play, and run for various elected offices. Delegates will meet weekly with their local group (delegation) to practice debate, public speaking, discuss current events, and decide what is important to their community. Delegates will also get the opportunity to participate in one of the following areas citywide: 

  • City Council (legislative committees) 
  • Superior Court (Appellate, Civil, Criminal) 
  • Board of Supervisors - Budget 
  • Mayor’s Investigative Task Force 
  • School Board 
  • Media 
  • Mayor’s Office (lobbyist) 
  • City Controller and Clerk (legislative analysts, elections, and legislative dockets)  
  • Los Angeles National Assembly 
  • Los Angeles City Charter Convention 


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