Youth Legislature

Tennessee YMCA Youth Legislature provides hands-on experience in all branches of state government

The Tennessee YMCA Youth Legislature Conference is designed to provide hands-on experience in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government. The overall goal is to teach the mechanics of government and to impress upon students the importance of active participation to the success of a democracy. Fundamentally, this program exists because democracy must be learned by each generation.

The four-day conference for high school students is held in the State Capitol Building in Nashville. The one-day middle school conference is held in Memphis in the County Commission Chambers and the City Council Chambers. (Click the conferences to register)

Youth In Government 2020

  • Capitol Conference (C): February 27 - March 1, 2020
  • Tristar Conference (A): April 2 - 5, 2020
  • Volunteer Conference (B): April 23 - 26, 2020
  • Middle School Dates: TBA

There are a number of roles participants may take:

House and Senate: Participants act as senators or representatives. Students pair up and choose an area of interest that needs legislative attention. The team researches, sponsors, presents and debates the written bill in committee and within the Capitol Chambers.

Committees: Bills are presented, debated and ranked. The bill then goes to the House and Senate where it is passed or defeated. The youth governor then signs or vetoes the legislation.

Supreme Court: Participants act as either a justice or a lawyer. Lawyers prepare and write briefs for cases before the high court in the actual Supreme Court Chamber and the justices rule on them.

Lobbyist: Participants choose an agenda and then select particular bills to lobby for or against.

Press: Participants report on hot topics and conference happenings and provide election coverage in the multi-issue newspaper. A video and slide show are also created.

Offices: Participants may run for office and preside over the conference.

Donate to the YMCA to support our programs such as Youth In Government.