Since 1949, Missouri YMCA Youth and Government has provided students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and experience democracy. This statewide educational program involves over 1,100 Missouri youth in grades 8-12 each year in various programs.
Youth and Government is a student-driven simulation of state government. Beginning in the fall of each year, students come together in their local delegations to choose their roles, register and prepare for the State Conference. At the conference, students create their version of state government under the guidelines of the Missouri Constitution. All participants in Missouri come together for this three-day event at the State Capitol. Legislators meet in committees and in the House and Senate chambers to debate legislation. Attorneys try their cases before student judges and engage in a trial competition. The entire event is covered by a student media. Participants also engage in campaigns and elections for officers, who will serve during the following year.
The Missouri YMCA Youth and Government program is operated by the Missouri State Alliance of YMCAs, with the Youth and Government State Office located in Jefferson City. Membership in the YMCA, the organization that sponsors the Youth and Government program, is not required for participation.