“Democracy must be learned by each generation.”
The Alabama YMCA Youth Legislature is a program promoted and developed through the Student YMCA and Government Clubs of the YMCA. It is a sound, educational approach to the development of citizen participation in the democratic government by providing opportunities to high school youth to study public government through a model legislative program.
The Hi-Y Clubs and Government Clubs have been chosen as the media through which the program is organized because these entities offer the best source of potential youth leadership in the appropriate age group. Hi-Y and Government Clubs have the stability, experience, motivation and purpose necessary as an incubator for Youth Legislature participation, and their regimen of regular meetings lends itself to the study and discussion of public affairs.
Since its first Session in 1949, the Alabama YMCA Youth Legislature has met annually, serving approximately 500-600 students in each of its Sessions. It is procedurally designed so as to be a replica of the Alabama Legislature.
The Youth Legislature Board of Directors maintains a strict philosophy that no aspect of the regular legislative pattern is to be changed or abridged.
Youth Legislature officials are elected and preside according to rules adopted, as closely as possible, to reflect the actual rules in force in the Alabama Legislature.
Bills are drafted in local clubs and brought to the State Capital for consideration and debate. Thus, delegates to Youth Legislature attain an actual experience in the legislative process, and obtain a better understanding of the complexities of the legislative process and parliamentary procedure.