Program History

Florida YMCA Youth In Government's 1st Annual State Assembly in Tallahassee, Florida

1936:
Clement A. Duran directs the first YMCA “Youth Legislature” as part of the Older Boys Conference held at the New York state capitol in Albany, founding the YMCA Youth and Government program.

1957:
Florida YMCA Youth In Government is established and the first Florida YMCA State Legislature is held December 6-8th, 1957 in Tallahassee, Florida.

1968:
The 1st Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is held at the Stone Mountain Inn in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The Florida Delegation was in attendance with 10 delegates.

1971:
The 4th  Annual Conference on National Affairs (CONA) is moved to the current home of the national conference – the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina

1979:
Lewis Oliver (Fort Walton Beach) serves as a Presiding Officer at the Conference on National Affairs.

1980:
A program was added in order to enable the young delegates to have a fuller experience. One hundred ninth grade delegates were chosen for the “Freshman Legislature”.

1981:
The Judicial program began as an effort to model Florida’s legal system; each delegate in this program has an opportunity to argue an actual case before the court as an attorney. Attorneys rotated in and out of presiding positions until 1984.

1982:
The Lobbyist program was founded designed to give delegates first-hand knowledge of the art of persuasion through the presentation of enlightening statistics and creatively credible arguments.

Jay Herbert (Altamonte Springs) serves as a Presiding Officer at the Conference on National Affairs.

1985:
Bryan Pennington of Fort Walton Beach served as the first youth Chief Justice.

Ed Scales (Lakeland) serves as a Presiding Officer at the Conference on National Affairs.

1995:
The first Florida YMCA Youth In Government T-shirt is made.

1999:
The Governor’s Cabinet was created. One member was appointed from each District by their YMCA District Coordinator.

Alex Annunciado (Miami) serves as a Presiding Officer at the Conference on National Affairs.

2000:
Governor’s Cabinet is changed to an application process, and students are selected to head up various Executive Agencies & Bureaus.

2001:
A third level is added to the Legislative Program to allow for more students to participate.

The volunteer College Staff is disbanded and reformed as the Graduate Advisors to more accurately reflect their duties and level of involvement.

2002:
The Governor’s Cabinet is downsized to reflect the actual members of the Florida Cabinet. Students apply for the positions and applicants are recommended by the Lt. Governor and appointed by the Governor.

The three levels of the Legislative Program are  renamed to avoid  confusion and honor  three men  who  significantly shaped YMCA history – George Williams, Thomas Sullivan, and Anthony Bowen.

A second level is also added to the Judicial Program – the Circuit Court – designed to give freshman a richer judicial experience and a chance to “learn the ropes”.

The election of Associate Justices is discontinued and an appointment process, by way of an application, begins.

2003:
The Circuit Court is renamed the District Court to more accurately reflect Florida’s judicial appellate process.

The Governor’s Cabinet is again restructured to mirror the 1998 Florida Constitutional Amendment – which went into effect in January of 2003.

Florida YIG develops and introduces a state lapel pin.

2004:
The Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture positions are changed from being appointed by the Governor to being popularly elected by their peers, to more accurately reflect the process. Both offices become part of the statewide Presiding Officer Corps (PO).

The first annual Summer Leadership Conference (SLC) is held to train incoming chapter leadership and Y-staff.

2005:
The position of Editor-in-Chief becomes an appointed position chosen from the outstanding members of the Press Corps delegates. The Editor would serve in the upcoming  program year  and is added as the thirteenth member of the Presiding Officer Corps.

Project Legacy is launched through a grant from the YMCA of the USA. The effort to connect alumni and current program participants is set up as a multi-year project.

The first annual Service Rally is held, delegates from across the state gather in central Florida for 24 hours of leadership and community service.

The Jr. Youth In Government program is launched, providing opportunities for Middle School students to participate in a model government program of their own. The first annual Jr. Assembly is held in Lakeland with delegates from Tampa, Fort Myers, and Lakeland participating.

Andrew Preston (Clearwater) serves as a Presiding Officer at the Conference on National Affairs.

2007:
Florida YMCA Youth In Government celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

The Conference on National Affairs (CONA) celebrates its 40th Anniversary and the Florida delegation has been there since the beginning.

2008:
In an effort to reduce our use of paper, YIG is launches a new web site (YIGnet) as well as a web based system for registration and Assembly submissions – the Deledex.

Derek Summerville (Fort Myers) serves as a Presiding Officer at the Conference on National Affairs.

The High School Mentors program is created, allowing Sr. YIG delegates to advise, facilitate, and mentor Jr. YIG delegates during the program year as well as at Jr. Assembly

2010:
The position of Attorney General is changed from an appointed position to being popularly elected to more accurately reflect the electoral process.

The Florida CONA Delegation sponsors and hosts 9 “ambassador delegates” from the first- ever Marshall Islands CONA Delegation representing the 1st Annual Marshall Islands Youth Nitijela.

2011:
During the 2011-2012 program year Florida YMCA Youth In Government celebrates its 55th Anniversary.

2012:
Florida sends its 45th delegation to Conference on National Affairs celebrating the program’s 45th Anniversary.

YMCA College Youth In Government is founded by Florida YIG alum Derek Summerville, and a Constitutional Convention is hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Florida YMCA Youth In Government alumnus Sean Casey is elected as the 1st National Vice President. Alums Christina Ertel, Peter Nguyen, Justin Stigermans, along with Casey signed the program’s Constitution.

During the 2012-2013 program year the Lobbying program is changed to allow for persuasive delegates to serve as Directors of Legislative Affairs to members of the Executive Cabinet.

The Youth Advocate Program is created to give delegates an opportunity to use their advocacy skills in Tallahassee during the actual Legislative Session alongside YMCA CEOs and stakeholders.

2013:
The Spring Servant Leadership Conference is added to help Chapter Leadership strategic plan their upcoming program year.

Graduating senior delegates who have served Florida YMCA Youth In Government for 5 or more years are recognized by the Alumni Association with a service medal at State Assembly.

2014:

The position of Chief of Staff is added to the Presiding Officer Corps to oversee the advocacy work of the Directors of Legislative Affairs.

The Civic Scholars Program is launched with support from the Florida Legislature and Department of Education.

Graduating senior delegates who have served Florida YMCA Youth In Government for 5 or more years are recognized by the Alumni Association with a service medal at State Assembly.

2015:

The positions of Legislative Whips were added to the Williams & Sullivan Chambers to bring elements of advocacy to the Legislative Branch.

Y-Corps: Service in the Sunshine is launched with more than 20 delegates traveling the state for 8 days to explore the unique communities of Florida while providing active service to various partner organizations.

Florida YIG’s Senior Honor Cord program becomes a part of the national YIG/YAG movement with 15 states adopting the recognition of graduating seniors with 2+ years of service.

2016:

Members of the Presiding & Supporting  Officer Corps joined Youth Advocates at the Capitol during the legislative session to host the Teen Town Hall Meeting with Florida’s Children & Youth Cabinet as a part of Children’s Week programming.