So your student wants to serve as a YIG Presiding Officer…
As a parent, and an invaluable component of the Youth In Government experience, here is the beginning of what you need to know about what has been described as a life-changing experience:
- Many past Presiding Officers describe their experience as that of a “first job” in public service: A year of time and effort devoted to serving their peers with no pay and few opportunities for instant gratification. In the end, however, nearly all understand that serving others is one of the greatest rewards life can offer.
- The 12 Youth In Government Presiding Officers are expected to serve the program beginning in April/May of the year of their election through April/May of the following year.
- This 1-year term constitutes an exciting and challenging experience in the lessons of servant leadership, civic engagement, and service learning.
- During this year-round term, Presiding Officers are required to attend several Presiding Officer Training Retreats, Presiding Officer Initiative Development in the summer months, our Servant Leadership Conferences, Presiding & Supporting Officer Training, Youth Advocate Program, and serve during our annual State Assembly in Tallahassee and training the week prior:
Retreat 1 – Spring Retreat
||Retreat 2 – Summer Retreat I
||Retreat 3 – Summer Retreat II
||Fall Servant Leadership Conference
||Retreat 4 – Fall Retreat
||Fall Delegate Convention
||Retreat 5 – Winter Retreat & Staff Training
||Retreat 6 – Presiding & Supporting Officers Training
||Pre-Assembly Training & State Assembly (1 full week)
||YMCA Advocacy Days
||Spring Servant Leadership Conference
|*Legislative Presiding Officers are required to attend Jr. Assembly
The legislative schedule for the State of Florida causes a shift in some of the spring events. Program Calendars are published annually.
- Presiding Officers will also serve at their local Chapter & Delegation events, Fall Delegate Convention, and are asked to attend state Leadership Conferences in the fall and/or spring.
- While local YMCAs do their best to provide transportation to and from these many retreats and other statewide events, Presiding Officers living in the same YIG area (usually within 10-45 minutes of each other), are often asked to carpool throughout the year to share the burden and cost of transportation to all events and make sure all POs can attend.
- Over the course of the year, these 12 students will grow to form the core of the Florida Youth In Government program. They will be asked to serve the program not only as an elected or appointed official at our State Assembly, but also as a team of servant leaders that will guide the program and decide its yearly mission. Other duties include, among others:
- Researching and writing civil and criminal cases, legislative agendas, and organizing parliamentary procedure
- Representing Florida’s YMCAs and Florida YMCA Youth In Government at regional and national YMCA and leadership conferences, events, and trainings
- Organizing and planning year-round YIG Engagement & Service Projects
- Planning, structuring and facilitating our Servant Leadership Conferences
- Serving as the state ambassadors to local delegations and chapters on state matters and concerns
- Presiding Officers learn the value of time management (sometimes the hard way), long and short-term planning, peer leading, conflict reolution, student organizing, and the merits and difficulties of a truly student-run and student-led program.
- Parents must also be aware that running and potentially serving as a Presiding Officer represents a commitment to the Youth In Government program that is second to none. The position of Presiding Officer is not only an honor within the program and state, but is recognized throughout the country by colleges, government institutions, and businesses alike as the mark of a true servant leader.
- Therefore, Officers are expected to fulfill their duties to the program above all other extracurricular and athletic commitments. They are, however, expected to keep family and academics as their top priorities, as these are both necessary components towards successfully serving as a Youth In Government Presiding Officer.
- This does not mean, however, that Officers must abandon all other extracurricular and athletic activities. The mission of the YMCA is to ensure a sound spirit, mind and body for all, and that mission can only be upheld if our Officers continue to pursue well-rounded activities and goals. We only require that Officers understand that their top extracurricular commitment must rest with YIG. This is often a tough lesson in prioritizing and learning what your student values most, but it is a lesson that places Presiding Officers at the head of their class both in maturity and life skills.