WHAT IS A CHAPTER?
Simply put, a Chapter is a school, community or YMCA group, organized on the local level for participation in Youth In Government.
All chapters MUST be affiliated with the YMCA in their service area.
Among other things, Chapters strive to adequately prepare students prior to Jr. Assembly for middle schoolers and Fall Delegate Convention and State Assembly for high schoolers, while developing service projects, leadership opportunities, and fundraising resources.
HOW IS A CHAPTER ORGANIZED?
Students elect officers to direct the Chapter meetings. Along with the members, there must be an Advisor (YMCA staff person, teacher or parent who is 21+ yrs) who is available to give adult supervision and leadership to the Chapter’s activities.
Depending on the YMCA, chapters and delegations may jointly share organization and programming responsibility.
WHEN/WHERE DOES A CHAPTER MEET?
This depends on the consensus of the group, but most likely right after school in the school library, cafeteria, or classroom. Due to the demand on students’ time immediately after school, many Chapters prefer to meet in the evening at the YMCA or other public meeting places (churches, community buildings, etc.).
HOW OFTEN DOES A CHAPTER MEET?
In the beginning, the Chapter (or certain committees) may need to meet once a week until the structure has been set up and/or everyone decides exactly what role they are going to play in the program. Then the group can choose to set their future meetings as appropriate.
As State Assembly and other major deadlines approach, it may be appropriate to meet more often or to have meetings for specific program areas. It is highly recommended that Chapters meet once a week, but not fewer than twice a month.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM TO SUPPORT THE CHAPTER?
Local dues and fundraising efforts are the primary source of funding for Chapters. Local fees from the YMCA may vary.
It is extremely important to remember: Delegates who do not have the personal resources to participate in the program should NOT be turned away. Fundraisers and local/state contributions should help ease the financial burden. Service Chapters, attorneys, and businesses with educational interests are quite supportive of our program.
PER YMCA POLICY – NO ONE IS TURNED AWAY FOR INABILITY TO PAY. It is vitally important that you are involved with your local YMCA from day one so that they can be a partner in your fundraising success.
HOW DOES THE CHAPTER FIT INTO THE BIGGER YIG PICTURE?
Local Chapters, either based out of or affiliated with the local YMCA branch, make up a Delegation. Florida YIG’s Delegations are decided by each corporate YMCA service area. Each of these delegations are part of a geographical area called a District.
Our four Districts make-up the statewide Florida YIG program which is one of more than 40+ states who currently run the YMCA’s Youth In Government program.
WHO CAN HELP ANSWER MY QUESTIONS?
Sources include past student members, current Chapter advisors at other YMCAs or schools, YMCA staff, Program Coordinators, and the State Office.
HOW MUCH TIME IS REQUIRED OF AN ADVISOR?
This will depend upon the capabilities of the youth and the ability of the YMCA staff and Advisor to recruit outside resource people to give direction related to the various program areas/needs. Like most programs, Youth In Government has been described as having a learning curve – be prepared to give a healthy amount of time to the activities in the beginning.
Once the students have participated at the State Assembly, their knowledge and enthusiasm will help to promote the program. Remember, that your main function is to be a facilitator.
Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed, ask for help early and often and in your first year, expect to learn along with your students.