Take action in your community by serving as a delegate in the Ann Arbor YMCA’s civic engagement and advocacy programs. These programs are designed for middle school and high school-aged youth to become civically engaged and active change-makers in their community. Through a series of committee and town hall meetings, delegates will explore governmental processes and voting rights while developing strategies to influence systems change through legislation, policy, and advocacy. Together, we will examine community issues, hear directly from officials, and create sustainable solutions to real-world problems. Active participation in local events (city council, county commission, township meetings, etc.) and elections is highly encouraged and will be supported by Ann Arbor Y staff and volunteers. This program culminates in a Washtenaw County Action & Advocacy Youth Summit, hosted by the Ann Arbor YMCA, where participants will showcase their work with an audience of family, friends, and community leaders. See below for program dates and details.
Committee Meetings (weekly)
Committee meeting agendas will include a call to order, roll call, old business (with approval previous meeting minutes), new business, calendar items and open agenda topics. Meetings will be engaging, interactive, fun and productive. Each meeting will focus on a program topic, as outlined below, and include an activity with small and large group discussions. Participants will have the opportunity to debrief previously attended community events (city council, county commission, township meetings, protests, etc.).
Town Hall Meetings (monthly)
Town Hall meetings will be scheduled monthly for delegates to discuss topics of interest and at their own leisure. These meetings will typically focus on a specific community issue and perhaps involve presentations from community leaders. All town hall meeting topics will be voted on by attending committee meeting members. These discussions will be informal to allow for youth members to make connections and build meaningful relationships outside of scheduled weekly committee meetings.
Washtenaw County Action & Advocacy Youth Summit
The Washtenaw County Action & Advocacy Youth Summit provides delegates the opportunity to showcase their impact. Delegates will present their bills in a formal mock-debate session, present on any policies they have created, and/or advocacy projects. This summit will be attended by guests, invited by active delegates (family, friends, community leaders, government officials, etc.). This summit will be hosted by the Ann Arbor YMCA and held virtually (unless otherwise noted).
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Action & Advocacy Academy [Grades 6-8]
Action & Advocacy Academy is a comprehensive program for middle school aged youth to harness the power of local government, while exploring how local government impacts state and federal decisions. Delegates will spend time in committee meetings exploring and discussing community issues, voting rights, and sustainable solutions to issues of interest. Committee meetings will be co-hosted by high school Action & Advocacy Council participants and Ann Arbor Y Staff & Volunteers.
Action & Advocacy Council [Grades 9-12]
Action & Advocacy Council consists of high school aged you who are passionate about activating community change via legislation, policy, and advocacy. Delegates will explore the intersectionality of local, state, and federal government, as well as international relations. Weekly committee meetings will include action-oriented agenda items for delegates to identify a problem of interest, conduct research, connect directly to community leaders, governmental officials, organizations, etc. and derive innovative results. Participants will present their solutions to the larger group and invited community leaders at the Action & Advocacy High School Youth Summit. In addition to weekly committee meetings, monthly town hall meetings, and the Washtenaw County Youth Summit, Action & Advocacy Council participants will partner with Michigan Youth in Government to collaborate with high school students across the state of Michigan, as well as YMCA Youth In Government participants in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri.