David Duax YMCA Youth in Government Program
Leaders are developed by doing, and the Wisconsin Youth in Government program seeks to foster the next generation of thoughtful, committed, and active citizens. This program is open to all students in grades 7-12 and engages hundreds of students from across the state each year.
Individual delegations meet starting in the fall and the program culminates with a weekend-long trip to the state capitol in Madison for our Model Government session. For more information, please contact Jen Zwicky, Eau Claire Delegation Advisor.
What is YIG?
The Wisconsin YMCA Youth in Government (YIG) program is a statewide and nationwide program that engages hundreds of Wisconsin students every year. The program is available to all students in grades 7-12 and aims to enable young people to prepare for leadership through participatory training in the theory and practice of determining public policy.
Who is David Duax?
David Duax was born in Eau Claire and graduated from Memorial High School in 1962. He participated in debate and won third place at the Little Nationals Debate Tournament. He graduated with a B.S. degree in political science from UW-Eau Claire, where he also served on the Student Senate and as chair of the Young Republicans. He later attended the University of Wisconsin Law School. David served as chair of the Eau Claire Board of Supervisors from 1974-1983.
In 1980, Governor Lee Dreyfus appointed David to be the first chairman of the Governor's Task Force on County Government Organization and Administration. He was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson to oversee the Ethan Allen School for Boys and the Lincoln Hills Detention Center. He later served as Director of Development and Communication at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire.
David served on the City Council from 2005 and was reelected in April 2015 just before he passed away. He created and chaired the Joint Commission of Shared Services, bringing together the county board, city government, and the Eau Claire Area School Board. He had a great respect for those he worked with and, at times, disagreed with, bringing a sense of civility to government that others admired. He will be fondly remembered by the people who served with him.
Our Eau Claire YMCA Youth in Government program is partially financially supported through a fund set up by David's wife, Kathy.
How does it work?
In Wisconsin, students are broken up into delegations based on location. Here in Eau Claire, we are simply known as the Eau Claire Delegation; student members of our delegation are referred to as delegates. Each delegation is headed up by an adult advisor - Jen Zwicky has been the Eau Claire delegation advisor since 2012.
Membership in YIG requires that students attend weekly meetings at the YMCA and choose a program area that they would like to participate in - legislature, judicial, or press corps. A brief description of each of these branches can be found below. Our Sunday meetings are used to bring our whole delegation together to get to know each other and discuss items such as fundraising, delegation orientation, officer and committee nominations, and more, as well as work on our bills and briefs.
Do we really get to go to Madison for a weekend?
This program includes two field trips where delegates from across the state will come together. In January, we attend a Pre-Gov session (typically held in Stevens Point or Appleton) where bills are ranked and leaders voted into office. In February, we travel to the state capitol in Madison where delegates will fully participate in the democratic process, debating and voting on bills and briefs, right in the seats where this is done every day by our state representatives! Don't worry...there's also time for dining and shopping on State Street, as well as a Governor's Ball dance and nightly entertainment.
Does it cost anything?
There are fees associated with this program, though all are used to directly fund the program. Students will pay for travel fees to and from Madison (bus transportation and hotel) as well as fees to help pay for the rental of the Capitol Building, meeting rooms at the hotel, printing of bill & brief books, etc. There are student-led fundraising opportunities available throughout the year as well as financial assistance through the Eau Claire YMCA to help defray some of these costs. This truly is a wonderful program, and we will not turn anyone away due to an inability to pay!
So what would I be doing?
The first step after registering for Youth in Government is to pick a program area. Available program areas are described below:
Students in these groups will discuss what they see as a problem or barrier in today's society (for either adults or kids their own age) and write a bill that will be debated and voted on at the Model Government assembly in Madison. Legislative students have three program area options: Harvey Assembly, Nelson Assembly, and Senate.
Harvey Assembly is typically made up of younger students (grades 7-10) and students who are new to Youth in Government. It is used as an introductory assembly to get delegates acclimated to public speaking, debate, and use of parliamentary procedure.
Nelson Assembly is generally made up of older students (grades 9-12) who have either completed Harvey Assembly or are starting YIG new as a high school student. This assembly is similar to Harvey Assembly in setup but is often a larger group with more heated debate. Rules of parliamentary procedure are also more strictly enforced.
Senate is made up of older students (grades 10-12) who have participated in YIG for many years and have remarkable debating skills. Debates in Senate can get intense and fast-paced.
Supreme Court delegates are each assigned a court case as well as their position (appellant or respondent) and are asked to research and write a brief arguing for their client. After presenting their specific case, these delegates are also rotated through the bench to serve as justices on other cases.
The Press Corps is made up of a small, dedicated group of students who interview candidates and delegates, write stories for a daily newsletter, and create online multimedia content (YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, maintain a blog, etc.) throughout Pre-Gov and Model Gov. These students get the chance to visit all the different program areas in order to write their pieces.
The executive branch for Youth in Government is made up of a Youth Governor, a Youth Lieutenant Governor, and a Youth Secretary of State. These individuals are voted into office at the February Model Government session for the following program year. The executive delegates work together to set expectations for the year, review bills that have passed by the legislature, and be overall leaders for the Wisconsin YIG program for their elected year.
Two delegates from each delegation are also appointed to serve on the Steering Committee. These students meet in order to set goals and expectations for the program as well as review bylaws and serve as an example for younger delegates.
FORMS & INFORMATION
SCHEDULES & IMPORTANT DATES:
Info Meeting / Pizza Party! | Thursday, October 3, 6:30-7:30 PM
First Delegation Meeting | Sunday, October 13, 6:30-8:00 PM
Meetings will continue every Sunday
Pre-Government Assembly | Sunday, January 26, Wausau
Model Government Conference | March 13-15, Madison
Would you like more information, to get signed up, or to get Youth in Government started at your school or in your community? Contact Jen Zwicky, Delegation Advisor.