Sonoma County Family YMCA

1111 College Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 545-9622

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Teen Specialty Programs


For more information about these programs, contact Crystal Sowards at  


California YMCA Youth & Government offers the Model United Nations (Model United Nations) program, which began in 2001.

Middle school students, called ambassadors, participate in the program with their peers. While engaged in the YMCA, they are given the opportunity to discuss international issues, discover other cultures, develop life-enhancing skills, and make new friends. The (5) month program culminates when ambassadors from around the state meet at the YMCA’s Annual Model UN Summit in Los Angeles.  

For grades 6 - 8.  For more information, contact Crystal Sowards, Youth Development Director, (707) 545-9622 ext 3313 or


The ML/C creates a (6) month learn-by-doing experience that teaches the values of democracy by bringing together a cross-section of the state’s high school students. This program provides them with the opportunity to experience government first-hand and to learn how to solve community problems through the democratic process as well as debate and discuss issues with their peers. The (6) month program culminates when students from around the state meet at the YMCA’s Annual Model Legislature & Court in Sacramento.

For grades 9-12. For more information contact Crystal Sowards, Youth Development Director, 707.544.1829 x3313 or

California YMCA Youth & Government’s Model Legislature & Court (Model Legislature & Court) website offers more information regarding Youth & Government Programs and what participants can expect to be a part of. (CalYMCA Link)

Youth & Government group photo #1













Going into Youth and Government I had no idea what to expect and honestly would have never expected it to be as amazing as it was. I was surprised to find myself fully invested in such a program that provided me with the opportunity to learn about government and leadership, to make supportive friends, to gain confidence, and ultimately grow.

Upon joining I learned we would be having weekly meetings and attending several training camps in preparation for Sacramento, where youth from all across the state would flood the state capital in order to model our own state government. The first couple meetings were confusing, as none of us had any idea what we were doing, but as the weeks passed I found myself among everyone else in our delegation to be genuinely excited and enthusiastic about the program. Everyone was eager to speak their mind and contribute their ideas into our collaborative process of writing our bill to bring to Sacramento. I too soon found myself amidst debates on legislation alongside my peers.

Finally, in Sacramento, I found a welcoming, supportive environment with thousands of youth just like me, ready to share the Y&G experience. I began to realize that these peers surrounding me were not simply just high school students, but the future of our democracy. Y&G helps the youth create a vision of hope for the future while teaching us the tools we need to make our dream a reality. Y&G has changed my life, along with the future of California’s State Government. And honestly, I can’t wait to do it again next year.
- Zoë Allred, Press Corps

Youth & Government group photo #2










In a nutshell, Youth and Government is the most highly concentrated group of intelligent individuals you will ever come across. I'm not talking about the straight-A's kind of smart, not that we don't have that, its the passionate, motivated people who possess a will to do good for the world and to make a difference. You will become one of these people, a leader of the future. Regardless if you enjoy the program or not, I guarantee that it will inspire you.

Now, to what I actually did. This last year I was a member of the International Affairs Commission or the IAC for short. The purpose of the program is to collaboratively come up with solutions to global conflicts or problems. I was apart of the IAC's first year in Y&G, a program of about 100 people. The program is split into 3 different issue tracks, specific areas of research where you investigate in. This last year the issue tracks were terrorism, climate change, and drug trafficking. I was in a group of 3 other( total of 4) tasked with solving terrorism. There were 6 other terrorist groups, only 3 of which could pass on to the final round to be voted on by the general assembly(everyone). My group's plan almost made it but was a couple votes short.
I recommend the IAC to anyone interested in an international perspective, it was really fun and engaging.
-Bryant Hill, International Affairs Commission

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